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Midway To Limit Watering Lawns To Once A Week


Watering during a summer of drought went “better than expected” in Midway, but the city still needs to place new limits on residential watering.

Irrigation-water users in Midway see a drop off every September in what’s called “delivery,” which is water sent to homes and farms for irrigation. What’s still available for use will flow at lower pressure starting Wednesday. 

To help make the water supply last, Midway City is reducing watering residential lawns to once a week. That’s a further reduction from a limit imposed in June, when the city asked residents to only turn on their sprinklers three times a week at most.

Midway Irrigation Company works in conjunction with the city to plan irrigation water delivery. Going forward, it’ll ration delivery depending on availability of water and types of usage.

Irrigation company manager Mike Kohler, who also represents District 54 in the Utah Legislature, says “if everyone cooperates, [Midway residents] should be able to support irrigating once per week through the middle of October.”

After Wednesday, farmers can only water pastures for land “being prepared for fall cultivation” and for grazing, Kohler says.

The rationing doesn’t apply to culinary water, or the water that runs in indoor plumbing.

Kohler says this is the typical week on the calendar when fewer water rights are available to the city. Water rights are controlled and monitored by a network of water distribution districts.

In some instances, irrigation water in Midway will stop flowing completely for periods of a day or two before it stops altogether for the onset of winter.

That’s because the company also plans to repair pipes and valves in its delivery systems, which will interrupt watering some days.

“We try to keep [delivery] open for late landscape jobs and pasture maintenance and other things even through the end of October,” Kohler says. “Normally we’ll do that, but the repairs are going to cause us to be shut down a little bit more often and quicker than we normally would.”

Kohler says if the company shuts off water entirely for repairs, he hopes the stoppages would last a day or two at most. This month and next are the target times to do the repairs - after peak season for water use and before the cold arrives.

The company will “shut everything down” by November 1 for projected frost onset, if not before.

At the June meeting when Kohler and Mayor Celeste Johnson announced the limits, Kohler said he wasn’t sure the three-days-a-week limit would be enough, given the severity of the drought.

Now at the end of summer, he says residents answered the call and helped to make the water last.

“I think we’ve done much better than I expected,” Kohler says. “Our requests for cutbacks by our citizens actually helped a lot. Our compliance level was pretty high. In general, the use on the system slowed down enough to make it through. The rains we had a couple of weeks ago have definitely helped bridge the gap. I’m very pleased about how it went. It could have been much more difficult in a dry year.”

Kohler says people can contact Midway Irrigation with questions about water delivery for the rest of the year, including timing of temporary shutdowns in specific areas. For a link to Midway’s website with information on water delivery and the irrigation company, visit Midway Irrigation Company (midwaycityut.org).

Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.
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