When Governor Cox asked all of us to pray for rain several weeks ago, my family and I talked about additional ways we could do our part. We made the decision to turn off the water while brushing our teeth, shorten our showers, and only water our lawn twice per week. We also made the decision not to do fireworks this year because of all the dry brush and potential impact on resources should something go awry.
Most of Utah is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought. As Governor Cox explained recently, this is either the worst drought since 1956 or the worst drought ever. We have seen our reservoirs and lakes at record lows. In addition to the little precipitation over the last year to refill our lake and rivers, we also have more people than ever consuming water in this state. Luckily Utah has done a great job of planning for the future; but if we don’t cut back on water usage this year, we may find ourselves in a position where we will need to ration water in future years.
Little things make a big difference when it comes to water conservation. There are things you can do like not letting the water run full blast while brushing your teeth or washing your pets near vegetation to get a secondary benefit. Utah’s slowtheflow.org has great advice for how to act during a drought. I found very helpful their tips on lawn management, namely: 1) water your lawn twice a week, 2) don’t water if it’s windy, 3) water in the evening or before 10 a.m., 4) prioritize your watering in the following order: trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, grass, and 5) raise your mower to leave your grass longer. You should also check out utahwatersavers.com, where you can find details on rebate programs for taking all sorts of water wise steps. While I can understand the desire to have the greenest lawn in the neighborhood, this year it’s cool to have yellow or brown lawn. You are showing your neighbors that you care about them and are conscientious water consumers during the drought.
Paired with being water wise is being fire smart this summer. This includes the small things, like discarding of cigarettes in the proper receptacle and not driving over or parking your car on dry vegetation. It also includes the more mindful things, like only starting campfires in cement or metal firepits, never leaving them unattended, and fulling drowning them until cool to the touch. Utahfireinfo.gov has even more information to consider for your summer plans. Lastly, consider going to a planned city fireworks show for the holidays rather than having your own fireworks. It saves money, and it’s much safer since local fire departments are onsite at those planned fireworks shows.
Usually on the 4th and 24th of July we get together with neighbors and light fireworks in our circle. Not this year. Due to the high risks that fireworks pose, we will be having a barbecue and playing games to celebrate the holidays. I’m a big fan of liberty and freedom, but I’m also a big fan of personal responsibility, so join me in watching your water usage and forgoing fireworks this year. Let’s be smart and be part of the solution!
Aimee Winder Newton has served since 2014 and represents Taylorsville, Murray, West Jordan, and West Valley City on the Salt Lake County Council. She was a former 2020 Republican candidate for Utah Governor and was the first woman elected as chair of the Council. Aimee works tirelessly to defend the quality of life in Salt Lake County while protecting tax dollars... [read more]
|Aimee Winder Newton
aimee winder newton: County Council district 3