Utah’s Dry Climate
Utah is home to some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. But for all its scenic peaks, valleys, grasslands, rivers and desert rocks, there is one thing Utah lacks: precipitation. On the whole, the state gets a mere 15.79 inches of precipitation per year, making it one of the driest states in America (source: USA.com).
Now I know some of you may be thinking, “but Utah gets feet of snow every year!”. This is true, but depending on how powdery the snow is, thirteen inches of snow equals one inch of precipitation on average.
Drought and Wildfires
Long story short, Utah is dry. This leads to two problems we commonly face in the warm months: drought and wildfires.
This year, for example, 100% of the state is in drought. Governor Spencer Cox has released an Executive Order outlining all of the conditions that have led to this outcome and requesting that cities and counties implement water restrictions. It is important for all of us to adhere to restrictions as they arise so that water is available for other critical needs such as wildfires.
While there are not currently any active fires burning in Summit County, there are several across the state and the west. This is a great wildfire report map to see current incidents.
Doing Your Part
There are many things each of us can do to make our households more water-wise. If we all do our part, it can add up to real impact to prevent water shortages in the future. Here are some ideas your household can implement.
- Check your plumbing fixtures for leaks. Inspect each of your kitchen, bathroom, and utility sinks, dishwashers, tubs, showers, hot tubs, and toilets for leaks and promptly have them fixed.
- Install low-flow fixtures. Invest in showerheads, faucets, and washing machines that only use as much water as needed.
- Wash on a full load. If you can’t slow the flow automatically, be sure to run your washer and dishwasher with full loads.
- Take shorter showers. Did you know that a four-minute shower uses 30 gallons of water? Try to keep your showers to a minimum. A shower timer can serve as a handy reminder of this.
- Turn off the tap. Be sure to turn off the water when it’s not needed in between washing your face, shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Design a water-wise landscape. Plant drought-resistant shrubs that require little to no water and use a layer of mulch to prevent evaporation. Incorporate shade trees to keep your plants cool.
- Reconsider your lawn. While a big lawn might be beautiful, it takes a lot of maintenance and water. Try going with a smaller lawn or eliminating it completely.
- Water at the right time. Be strategic about when you water — in the early morning or evening — to prevent evaporation. Hold off on watering in the spring and be sure to turn sprinklers off in the fall.
- Invest in technology to help. Weather-based irrigation controllers are a great new technology that overrides your sprinkler timer if and when we do get precipitation.
- Go the extra mile. Take additional steps to curb your water usage, such as collecting the cold faucet water you run while waiting for it to warm up and using it to water your plants.
When it comes to water — one of our most precious resources — every little bit helps. Thanks for doing your part to help our great state in these dry times we are in.