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Murray Journal

Daytime watering banned in Murray

Oct 30, 2018 01:58PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Murray landscapes can no longer be watered between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

By Shaun Delliskave|[email protected]

After years of drought and diminishing ground water levels, Murray City Council has approved an ordinance tightening water restrictions for all of Murray. At the Oct. 2 city council meeting, a unanimous council approved the restriction of pressurized landscape irrigation between the hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

The ordinance regulates pressurized irrigation, which includes most irrigation systems in the City and uses culinary water. Secondary irrigation users who pump ditch water would not be subject to this ordinance. Regardless of whether a user has Murray or Jordan Valley water, or water from another district, all will be subject to this law.

“There are a few exceptions to this ordinance; for example, filling a pool and establishing new grass may require someone to use water multiple times during the day. Although we discourage the use of water and consider it to be wasteful when we use our water to wash down a driveway or sidewalk. All of the dirt, silt, oils, fertilizer, leaves, or organic matter is washed into a gutter, and it will eventually find its way into our streams and rivers, which we also need to protect,” said Murray City Public Works Director Danny Astill.

The violation of the ordinance is an infraction, the lowest form of a criminal penalty, and a person could be cited and fined up to $750. The city has found that people need to be reminded about being careful water users; city employees have handed out water-waster notices and have provided one-on-one consultation visits to help residents become more conservation-minded. 

“Our goal is to continue to do what we have always done: deliver a water-waster notice and offer education and conservation tips,” noted Astill.

“What everyone should understand is that we draw all of our water from the ground and that these are not unlimited sources. Just because we cannot see them, the ground water levels fluctuate much like our above-ground reservoirs do,” said Astill.

Murray City operates its own water system that includes over 197 miles of pipelines, ranging in size from 4 to 24 inches in diameter. The system includes 19 wells and eight springs that provide the water needed for residential and commercial culinary and fire flow requirements. 

The city currently needs to replace two old wells that are beyond rehabilitation. Because the city provides all of its own water (with the exception of Jordan Valley Water Conservancy users) it is the Public Works Department’s responsibility to provide redundancy in the system. Should there be mechanical or other problems with a particular source of water, another source can easily take its place.

The cost of replacing two wells simultaneously was going to be too much for the city’s financial reserves to cover, so the Public Works Department decided to request a low interest loan from the Utah State Board of Water Resources. According to Astill, “The terms of the loan are very favorable, but there are some requirements that we need to meet, which include this wording (about daytime watering restrictions) in an ordinance.”

2018 marks Utah’s driest year on record. The National Weather Service reports that every month in Utah since 2012 has been dry, except for December 2016 and January 2017 when it snowed and rained three to four times the normal amounts.

Astill stated, “Murray City citizens are the best and have responded to our educational information.  Because of that, we have come very close to meeting the conservation goals required by the State of Utah, yet we still have a way to go. Our water division’s main focus is, and will continue to be, providing high quality drinking water to our citizens.”