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Governor’s water conservation order curbs sprinkler use at state facilities

Utah government buildings aren’t allowed to run landscape watering systems during the day or while it’s raining.

(Trent Nelson | Tribune file photo) People walk among the blossoms at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 22, 2021.

You won’t see sprinklers running during the day at Utah’s Capitol — or any other state-run building — in the near future.

The move is part of a water conservation order that Utah Gov. Spencer Cox issued Monday. Under the order, state facilities aren’t allowed to use their landscape watering systems between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., or when it’s raining. Facilities also have been instructed to make sure their irrigation systems are operating efficiently, according to a news release.

“Last year, Utah experienced one of the driest and hottest years on record and we anticipate another tough drought year ahead,” Cox said in the release. “State government is committed to doing its part to conserve water, and we encourage all Utahns to use this most precious resource wisely and sparingly.”

The order cites Utah’s record dry year, low snowpack and soil moisture levels, and “extreme drought conditions” as reasons for the measures. In March, Cox signed an order declaring a state of emergency because of the drought.

Cox’s order encourages local governments to do the same with their landscaping. Salt Lake City declared a Stage 1 water conservation advisory in March, encouraging residents to look at ways to reduce water use.

The order also includes recommendations for private companies — water suppliers and irrigation companies in particular — and the state’s residents.

Recommendations for residents include:

  • Limiting when and how often you water your lawn, and following the state’s lawn watering guide.

  • Converting lawns into drought-tolerant landscapes.

  • Reducing indoor water use by taking shorter showers and installing low-flow toilets and other water-efficient appliances.

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