The heat of summer continues to take its toll on Utah's water supply.
While most officials believe the water supply will be OK for the summer, others are taking steps to ensure the supply remains at a safe level.Kaysville, Layton, Roy, Provo, Park City and Hill Air Force Base have all begun to ask their residents to cut back on water use.
"The water is being used up faster than we can build it up," said Jeaneal Christensen, office manager of the Roy Water Conservancy Subdistrict.
She said drier-than-normal weather and the heavy demand on the water system have forced her organization to restrict the city's residents to an odd/even watering schedule. Residents with even-numbered houses, for example, can only water on calendar days that are even.
An emergency ordinance was passed Thursday night by the Layton City Council restricting culinary water use by residents. It gives the city some time to determine what went wrong with one of its wells.
The well failed Wednesday afternoon, said public works director Terry Coburn, and plans to ration water became effective almost immediately, while city officials arranged for alternate water supplies.
Coburn said it was first believed that the well casing or pipe had collapsed, but extensive tests Thursday show the failure may be simpler but also more ominous: a falling water table.
He said the water level in the city's other wells is also down, but not as much as in the failed one. Some other cities around northern Utah have also reported ground water levels falling due to the recent dry cycle, he said.
Park City and Hill Air Force Base housing residents are also required to adhere to an odd/even watering system. "We are asking people in general to help conserve because of
the long, hot summer ahead of us," said Len Barry, HAFB spokesman. Park City also prohibits its residents from watering between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
"Everyone likes to water at the same time," said Jerry Gibbs, Park City's director of public works. Such restrictions save water, he said.
Kaysville residents are being encouraged to water their lawns between 8 p.m. and 11 a.m., while Provo residents are restricted to watering between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.
Salt Lake City has not imposed any waters restrictions, but the dry weather is resulting in record water consumption, said Leroy W. Hooton Jr., the city's director of public utilities.
Salt Lake City used 5.2 billion gallons of water in June alone, compared with 4.7 billion gallons in June 1987, he said.
To illustrate the amount of water, Hooton said if Mountain Dell Reservoir in Parleys Canyon was the only source of water, it would be used up very quickly. "Salt Lake City alone would drain that reservoir in five days," he said.
Robert Hilbert, general manager of the Salt Lake County Water Conservancy District, which serves the majority of the county outside of Salt Lake City, said he is not anticipating any problems but is still concerned about the current situation.
One of his key sources for water, the Metropolitan Water District, has only allocated him a specific quantity of water this year.
"This is the first in some time we've had an allocation such as this," he said. "They just don't have the water they normally do."
But restrictions can sometimes do more damage than no restrictions, said Ivan Flint, general manager of the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District - which serves at least in-part every city from North Ogden to North Salt Lake. He said when water is restricted, many people use more water than they normally would.
"People will water today because they can't tomorrow," he said. "It's a real hassle, and I'm not sure we save enough water."
Flint said his district is hurt worse than most of the other water districts because his reservoirs are among the last to be filled.