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Ephraim tightens water restrictions

 

James Tilson

Staff writer

7/19/2018

EPHRAIM—Citing “historic drought conditions,” Ephraim has imposed mandatory restrictions on outdoor watering.

On July 12, the city posted an announcement to its Facebook page advising residents and businesses north of Center Street to limit watering to Tuesdays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to midnight.

Residents and businesses located south of Center Street may water on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to midnight.

Schools and churches have been asked to water on Mondays and Thursdays from 7 p.m. to midnight.

The announcement also said the city is working with Snow College to reduce water usage, but the college will not be on the citywide watering schedule because of its complex irrigation system and multiple properties.

According to the city, Snow College has reduced is outdoor water use by 40 percent, and will continue to cut its usage.

Ephraim does not have a secondary irrigation system so property owners use city culinary water for outdoor watering. This is the first time since 2000 that Ephraim has officially restricted water use.

Bryan Kimball, director of community development, said Monday that restrictions had to be imposed because of severely reduced flow from the springs in mountains east of the city, which are the primary source of the city’s water.

“We’ve been monitoring water coming into the system, and it’s down dramatically from last year, by more than 1,000 gallons per minute,” he said. “We expect that trend to continue through the summer.”

Kimball laid the blame on the lack of snow pack from this winter, and little or no rainfall this summer. “Last week’s rain helped, but we need a dramatic change in the weather. We haven’t had a consistent, drenching rain that would help recharge the springs.”

The pipeline leak earlier this summer, in which the city lost about 1 million gallons, also impacted the system, Kimball said. City workers repaired the leak quickly, but water tanks did not refill following the repairs as rapidly as the city had hoped.

Kimball added that in the small amount of time the restrictions have been in place, they have already made a difference. Kimball and Chad Parry, Director of Public Works, check the water flows multiple times each day with a monitoring system, which instantaneously relays data to computers at city hall.

However, Kimball also believed the restrictions could get worse before the summer is over. Especially when the Snow College students come back on campus, the stress on the system will be significant, and the slowdown from the springs will continue.