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Midway water supply running low, city asks users to conserve

Watering sprinkler lawn
John Casey
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Adobe Stock
Midway residents are asked to only water their lawns three times a week and never on Sundays.

As the watering season continues through the heat of the summer, Midway’s water supply is running low, and the city says it needs residents to use less.

The Midway Irrigation Company, which provides the water people use on their lawns and pastures, warned residents the supply has gotten too low in recent weeks.

“Last year, people respected that guideline; we didn’t water on Sunday, our ponds filled back up, we had pressure during the week,” Midway Mayor Celeste Johnson said at Tuesday’s city council meeting. “For whatever reason, that’s not been happening this year. We’ve got three to four weeks that it’s critical that we do the smallest amount of watering possible and that we do not water on Sunday.”

Midway’s current guidelines ask people on the east side of Center Street to water lawns on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. People on the west side of Center Street are asked to water Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. No one is supposed to water on Sundays.

“Having that one day gives our sources an opportunity to fill up, and that is critically important, and we are missing out on that,” she said.

Mike Kohler, who is both the director of the Midway Irrigation Company and a state representative for Wasatch County and Park City, said farmers are required to cut back, too, but residential overuse is the main cause of the problem.

He said despite having to cut back by a little less than half, farmers have managed a second crop this year, the normal production target for a summer. He declined to say who the biggest water users are.

According to Chris York, an engineer with the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, much of the Heber Valley is in better shape than Midway, and many areas don’t have restrictions. It’s still unclear, though, whether local irrigation companies can provide a full season’s worth of water. He said lawn-waterers will benefit in the long run if they conserve now.

“The more water that is conserved now that these companies are on storage water, York said, “the more water that is saved now means that we can water longer into the season and hopefully provide a full season of irrigation water.”

Central Utah Water oversees water delivery from the Provo River to the Heber area’s irrigation companies. He said the water supply is better this year than last year, thanks in part to snowmelt runoff lasting about a month longer than it did in 2021. He also said he was “pretty amazed” at how Heber-area residents have conserved on their own this year. He said more rainy and cloudy days may have helped.

For specific guidelines and restrictions on water usage, people should contact their irrigation companies or the Central Utah Water Conservancy District.

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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