Rainy May plus water rental ends some Lehi water rules

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(Image courtesy the National Weather Service)

(Image courtesy the National Weather Service)

Eighteen days of measurable precipitation. More than 4 inches of rain (the average for May is less than 2 inches.) Utah’s rainy May is done.

Even though you probably got out your umbrella more than your shorts and sunscreen, you likely didn’t have to turn on your sprinklers — and that, combined with a temporary water purchase, saved Lehi residents some pain this summer.

On Thursday Lehi announced that it was easing its water restrictions, from Phase III to the lesser Phase II. That means residents can water their lawns three days a week. And they can use recreational sprinklers and water toys. And all restrictions on swimming pools, outdoor fountains and ponds are gone.

“The rain certainly helped and we were able to rent additional water, which helped our water levels go up significantly,” said Robert Ranc, Lehi’s assistant to the city administrator.

[pullquote]”The rain certainly helped and we were able to rent additional water, which helped our water levels go up significantly.” —Robert Ranc, Lehi’s assistant to the city administrator[/pullquote]

He said there are water projects around the state with additional water that cities can rent, and so that’s what Lehi did. The city council voted last week to rent 2,000 acre-feet of water through Oct. 31 from the Central Utah Project. The cost is $150 per acre-foot, plus a $16 fee per acre-foot.

Since May 11, Lehi residents had been banned from watering more than two days per week, having a water feature that sprays above a fountain or pond and playing with sprinklers or outdoor water toys. Water levels in pools were required to be lowered by 4 inches to save water from splashing out, and pool covers were required when the pools were not in use.

Lehi residents’ watering days are determined by address. If you have an odd-numbered address, then you may water your landscaping and lawn on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you have an even-numbered address, then your days are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Spot watering is allowed on Sunday.

Ranc said Lehi residents have been happy about the eased restrictions, though there’s still a drought on.

“We’re encouraging people to continue to conserve,” he said.

The Utah State University Free Water Check Program is available to give Utahns a customized watering schedule to help conserve. Go to slowtheflow.org.

And don’t put your umbrella in the back of your closet just yet. The National Weather Service is predicting a chance of showers and thunderstorms for several days later this week.

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Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

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