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Heber sprinklers to be limited to cooler hours to conserve water

Starting this year at Heber City residences, people will have new watering rules to follow.
Артур Ничипоренк
Adobe Stock
Starting this year at Heber City residences, people will have new watering rules to follow.

Next summer, people in Heber City will have to limit their lawn-watering to morning, evening and overnight hours.

Soon, when Heberites’ yards aren’t covered with snow, many will be eager to turn on their water systems and see their grass turn lush and green again.

This year, if they’re inside city limits, they won’t be allowed to do so during the hottest hours of the day. On Tuesday, the Heber City Council passed an ordinance that bans residential pressurized irrigation after 10 a.m. and before 6 p.m.

Why now?

There are several city water conservation projects underway, including to put water meters at everyone’s homes so the city can more accurately quantify and charge for water use. The Utah Board of Water Resources offered nearly $8 million for the project, and this ordinance is one requirement to qualify.

Before the council unanimously passed the ordinance, Councilmember Ryan Stack ensured it only restricts pressurized irrigation.

“Because I'm going to use a watering can between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to water flowers. I mean, I think it’s geared towards actual sprinkling, which I don't think anybody has a problem with, but any sort of outdoor water use to water plants, trees, shrubs — is it really meant to be that expansive?”

Tom Cox of the Utah Division of Water Resources said there’s room for interpretation in how the city enforces it.

“I think clearly their intent is that people aren't running their sprinklers in the afternoon,” Cox said. “I mean, all of us have gotten out in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday and fixed our sprinklers. You’ve got to turn them on to fix them, so if you're out there and you're fixing your sprinkler, that's alright. I don't think code enforcement is going to come and ticket you and say, ‘You're not supposed to be doing this.’”

As watering season approaches, the city can refine how it will enforce the rules.

A spokesperson for the Central Utah Water Conservancy District said it’s far too early to say when people will be able to turn on their water, but it’s usually between April 15 and May 15.

He said it depends on how much water is in the Provo River and climate, and the river commissioner usually sets the date a couple of weeks ahead of time.