OGDEN NORTH – North Ogden leaders began to focus on protecting drinking water, not just secondary water, used to nourish lawns.
If secondary water supply systems are shut down earlier than usual, as can happen, officials fear that landowners will eventually turn to their culinary water – the water you drink and cook with – to keep their grass green.
“The ‘threat’ would be the abuse / use of culinary water on lawns. We have enough water for the system to function normally, but we wouldn’t have the option for every resident to switch to watering their lawns with culinary water, ”said Jon Call, lawyer for the town of North Ogden, in an email.
As a result, Mayor Neal Berube declared a “critical water emergency” the latest Tuesday after receiving permission to do so from North Ogden City Council, triggering a ban on the use of culinary water on lawns. Allowing such use will “overtax” the supply of drinking water, which in the north of the Ogden comes from wells and natural sources, Berube said.
Along with this, the city council passed an ordinance specifying the penalties if residents violate the ban. After a first warning, they would face a violation and a fine of $ 250. The third offenses, still an offense, would be punishable by a fine of $ 500, while the fourth offenses would be considered Class B offenses and dealt with by the district court.
Berube told the Standard-Examiner he hoped the fines and charges would not be necessary. “We hoped that our education and information efforts would avoid more than a warning,” he said.
Residents could still use culinary water on trees, bushes and gardens, which sparked some exasperation from City Councilor Phil Swanson during Tuesday’s discussion of the matter. “I think we are generous with a very limited resource,” he said.
As drought persists in Utah, much of the effort to deal with the situation has been to encourage the public to cut back on lawn watering to conserve the resource. Officials in northern Ogden, however, are starting to worry about the city’s drinking water supply.
The natural springs that provide drinking water in northern Ogden “are not at normal levels,” Call said, so water officials must tap into the town’s well system. Extracting well water from the ground costs more, he continued, so city council will address the water costs at the body’s meeting scheduled for July 27.
Swanson said it was difficult to determine how much was left in the city’s drinking water supplies. “The reality is we just don’t know how much we have there,” he said.
City officials plan to start educating the public about the water emergency through direct mail, social media and more.
Secondary water flow, untreated water from the Pineview Reservoir and other sources used for watering lawns, is typically shut off in mid-October. Given the drought, however, officials said they should probably put it out sooner. Ben Quick, Managing Director of Pineview Water Systems, which supplies secondary water to North Ogden, said it hopes to maintain the secondary water supply until September 1, although a firm date has not yet been set.
Pineview officials had previously said secondary water may need to be shut off in early August, but Quick said the public had responded to calls to cut back on watering.