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South Valley Journal

Riverton City to consider mandatory watering schedule

Aug 04, 2016 03:51PM ● By Chris Larson

Councilwoman Tricia Tingey, District 2, proposed the city be divided into two watering districts that would water on alternating days to reduce Riverton City's secondary water consumption. (Photo: Chris Larson, South Valley Journal)

By Chris Larson[email protected]

Riverton, Utah - Riverton City announced Wednesday the City Council will consider a water restriction ordinance to restrict daily secondary water usage by 10 million gallons. 

The city released a statement on Aug. 4 saying the council will hold an emergency city council meeting on Aug. 9 at 6:30 p.m. to consider a mandatory watering schedule to address rapidly falling water levels in Utah Lake, the source of Riverton City’s secondary water. 

The statement reads, in part, “(r)esidents are encouraged to Act Now (sic) to avoid the potential shut off of secondary water.”

The proposed resolution would create a watering schedule which would mandate properties east of 2700 West water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays while those to the west would water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Watering on Sundays would be forbidden to give time for the secondary water system to regain pressure.

“We would strongly encourage reducing irrigation times and frequency as much as possible,” the statement continues.

In the Aug. 2 City Council meeting, D. Scott Hill, the Riverton City Water Manager, said the city uses between 27 to 30 million gallons of water everyday, and the city needs to reduce daily usage by 20 to 25 percent to extend this year’s use of Utah Lake by 30 to 45 days. 

As discussed by the council and city leadership in the meeting, the proposed watering regulations would be enforced by a fee structure established by the Riverton City administration and approved by the council. 

Riverton City nixes irrigation fee forgiveness resolution talks irrigation regulations  - Aug 05 2016 0830AM

Riverton City nixes irrigation fee forgiveness resolution, talks irrigation regulations - Aug 05, 2016 08:30AM

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 The resolution, as posted online, states the following for penalties for watering out of turn: 

“…1) Written warning for first violation; 2) a fine of not less than $150.00 for second violation; and 3) a fine of not less than $300 for third violation… residences found in violation of this ordinance on three separate occasions shall be subject to immediate shutoff from secondary water service for the remainder of the 2016 secondary water season.”

Hill reported to the council and administration that Utah Lake’s levels are currently dropping by .02 feet everyday and that the Utah State Engineer, the state official that holds power over water use, told the Board of Canal Presidents he will “shut down secondary water rights” if the rate increases to .03 feet per day. 

The lake is 5.93 feet below compromise, and the rate by which the water level is falling has prompted regulators to will meet on Aug. 9 to determine whether or not to shut down secondary water rights to Utah Lake. 

Councilwoman Tricia Tingey, District 2, initially suggest the council make enforceable watering schedules with “significant fines”  for those use the city’s secondary water system.

Hill and Tingey agreed that any resolution passed by the council need to “have some teeth.”

Councilmen Paul Wayman, District 3, and Trent Staggs, District 4, called for the letters to be sent to both municipal and state leaders stating that they need to take similar measures to ensure continued use of Utah Lake as a water source. 

Staggs said that even if Riverton City does make conservation efforts — the city is one of the largest users of Utah Lake water — it will have no effect on the lake unless all users cut back. 

The statement released by the city said the proposed watering schedule is not in response to the toxic algal bloom, which prompted the shutdown of the irrigation system in July. 

The city will rely on the help of citizens to report violators to supplement limited code enforcement official efforts. 

Riverton City Offices are located at 12830 S. Redwood Rd., Riverton, UT 84065. The council meeting room is located on the second floor on the south side of the building.