Last month, Davis County water officials - faced with the fifth consecutive year of below-average precipitation - announced they probably would have to ration irrigation water this summer.

They postponed the final decision, however, hoping for some sort of a water miracle in March.The storms came. But they were too little too late.

So residents countywide should start planning to use 50 percent less water on their lawns and gardens.

"The storms have been helpful but not helpful enough," said Ivan Flint, manager of the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District.

In early February the snowpack was about 65 percent of normal. Now it is 80 percent of normal. But that's after four straight years of near-drought conditions, which have left Weber Basin's nine reservoirs with severe shortages.

"We had to have a 140-percent-of-normal snowpack to get where we needed to be," Flint said.

Starting April 15, when the district begins turning on its secondary water system, users will be limited to watering their lawns and gardens during a three-hour period two days per week. (Please see schedule in box.)

Residents who do not comply with the rationing schedule face disconnection for the remainder of the year and a $50 reconnection fee next year.To save additional water, the district will shut down its systems Oct. 1, two weeks earlier than normal.

Weber Basin crews on Tuesday began going house to house to deliver small packets of information to the irrigation company's 10,000 customers. The packets explain the restrictions in detail and give suggestions for conservation. Anyone who does not get a packet within a week can call the district, 771-1677.

The restrictions apply only to secondary water, but Flint encouraged residents to conserve culinary water, even though culinary water allotments will be met 100 percent.

However, many Davis County cities, such as Bountiful, are considering restrictions of their own to prevent residents from using culinary water to water lawns and gardens.


(Additional information)

Watering Schedule\ If your house number is even, you may water for three hours - 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. OR 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. - on Mondays and Thursdays.

If your house has an odd number, you can water for three hours - 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. OR 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. - on Tuesdays and Fridays.

No watering is allowed on Wednesdays, Saturdays or Sundays.

Farmers with more than 10 acres will be restricted to two complete waterings the entire summer on a 24-hour setting, OR four complete waterings on 12-hour settings, OR eight complete waterings on 6-hour settings.


Water conservation tips:

- Place inside the toilet tank a couple of quart-size plastic bottles filled with sand or rocks to displace water.

- Take shorter showers.

- Don't leave water running while brushing your teeth.

- Check faucets and pipes for leaks.

- Don't let faucet run while rinsing vegetables or plates. Instead, use a partially filled sink.

- Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator to cut down on running the tap until the water gets cold.

- Plant drought-resistant trees and plants and put a layer of mulch around them.

- Use a broom, rather than water, to sweep driveways and sidewalks.

- Water lawn only when it needs it and only during the cool parts of the day.