Washington County Implements Utah’s Most Restrictive Water Ordinances

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah – Washington County’s largest cities have implemented new water ordinances to help protect water resources in what a news release called the nation’s fastest growing region.

The new measures include a ban on non-functional turf for newly constructed commercial, institutional and industrial developments, and a turf limit in new homes.

New golf courses in St. George will also not be approved unless the development can provide its own source of non-potable water for irrigation, according to a Wednesday morning news release from the Washington County Water Conservancy District. .

The ordinances would be the most restrictive for new construction in Beehive State.

“We can’t risk running out of water,” said Zach Renstrom, chief executive of the Washington County Water Conservancy District. “The prolonged drought has threatened our only source of water – we need to make changes to how our community uses its water to protect our economy and our quality of life.”

Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox said, We salute Washington County’s current water conservation achievements and efforts, including setting a higher standard for development in the state with these new municipal ordinances.

“Our future depends on every community in Utah, making water conservation a top priority,” Cox said.

The ordinances also require the use of secondary (untreated) water and reuse (treated wastewater) for outdoor irrigation, if applicable, depending on the version. Currently, the county uses it to irrigate parks, schools, golf courses, city-owned facilities, and some residential neighborhoods.

“The district is developing a regional reuse system in partnership with its municipal customers that will significantly improve the availability of reused water for future development,” the statement said.

Other requirements of the order include:

  • Hot water recirculation systems
  • Luminaires labeled Water-Sense
  • Energy Star Appliances
  • Sub-metering of multi-unit installations
  • Restrictions on water features, including misting systems
  • Water budgets for golf courses
  • Limits on water used by car wash facilities

The new ordinances are expected to save nearly 11 billion gallons of water over the next 10 years, according to the release.

Officials said each municipality will enforce its new order, adding that cities will review complaints received about water waste and monitor metering data to notify and impose penalties on non-compliant customers.

“To help encourage compliance, the district will begin assessing an additional high water usage fee in 2023. The money generated from this fee will fund water conservation programs, including rebates to replace the ‘grass through water-efficient landscaping,’ the statement read.

The county’s long-term water supply plan, according to the release, includes additional water conservation and reuse, optimization of local sources and development of new resources.

“Washington County has already reduced its per capita water use by more than 30% since 2000 – the largest reduction in water use in Utah – and plans an additional 14% reduction by 2030. , using 2015 as the base year.”

REMARK: The Washington County Water Conservancy District is a public, nonprofit organization that oversees water resources in Washington County, UT. Visit wcwcd.org for more information.

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