Restrictions on new golf courses, non-functional grass amid strict Washington Co. water rules

ST. GEORGE, Utah — In a bid to save 11 billion gallons of water over the next decade, Washington County officials have passed what they call Utah’s most restrictive water ordinances. , designed to help avoid a water shortage.

For example, the largest cities in the county will no longer allow what is described as non-functional grass for new construction projects that are commercial, institutional or industrial developments.

And new golf courses will not be approved in St. George unless the builder can supply its own source of non-potable water to use as irrigation.

“We can’t risk running out of water,” said the general manager of the Washington County Water Conservation District, Zach Renstrom in a press release. “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 quality of life.”

According to National Integrated Drought Information System, 100% of Washington County’s population is currently affected by drought. The entire county is considered to be in extreme drought, which means fire danger is high, even native vegetation is stressed, and stream flow is low.

The new ordinances also direct residents and businesses to use secondary or untreated water for outdoor use when available. This is a practice already used by the county for water parks, schools, golf courses and some neighborhoods.

Residents are also encouraged to use sense of water products and EnergyStar Appliances. And car washes are asked to limit the water they provide in their services.

“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,” the governor said. of Utah, Spencer J. Cox.

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

Enforcement of New Washington County Water Restrictions

The Washington County Water Conservancy District said each of the county’s municipalities will enforce the orders. They will also impose penalties on non-compliant customers.

Starting in 2023, to ensure compliance, the district will charge an additional fee for high water usage. In a news release, the district said the fee will fund water conservation programs. These include discounts to customers who replace grass with more water-efficient options.

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Michael C. Ford