Lynn Arave, Deseret News
Visitors check out the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District's 2.5-acre Water Conservation Learning Garden in Layton.

LAYTON — The Weber Basin Water Conservancy District boasts a 14 million-gallon water reservoir at its headquarters. However, as its name implies, the district also wants to do more than supply water — it is hoping to encourage conservation.

As a result the district has opened a 2.5-acre Water Conservation Learning Garden to highlight ways the public can reduce outdoor water usage, with xeriscaping and plants and grasses that use less water.

The garden has free admission and is open for the summer season, seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The governor's Water Conservation Team has set a goal of reducing per-capita water usage by 25 percent over the next 42 years, and Weber Basin's new garden is one of the ways it hopes to promote more conservation. Since about two-thirds of the water northern Utah residents consume is used outdoors, this is a key area to target.

The garden comprises a huge outdoor classroom amidst a scenic nature walk. It took about 18 months of planning and construction to create it.

Located at 2837 E. Highway 193, the garden is just west of U.S. 89 and next to the district's administrative offices.

"I like it," Brad Garr, of South Ogden said after his garden tour Saturday morning. "It gives you some good ideas."

He said he's been considering taking some of his lawn out, and the checklist of water-thrifty plants Weber Basin supplies makes it very handy to decide what to use.

The district's checklist contains more than 150 examples of hardy plants.

"I think it's awesome," Anne Nelson of Layton said. "There are a lot of examples here."

The park ranges from one portion that includes a gravel area with few plants to a green lawn area. This includes a display showing nontraditional types of lawn with deeper roots that also save water. It shows how the most common type of lawn, Kentucky bluegrass, should only be located where it serves a useful purpose.

It also has an exhibit of artificial grass for those who desire it.

There's even a Rainbird area of concrete that highlights the best use to sprinkling systems for conserving water, and a raised garden in large planter boxes to showcase their benefits

The garden also stresses the use of mulch to save on water, as well as proper maintenance.

Its seven principles of water-wise landscaping are:

• Planning and design

• Soil type and condition

• Plant selection

• Reduce turf area

• Irrigate efficiently

• Mulch

• Maintenance

For those who would prefer not to have fluoride in their water, the district has a fluoride-free drinking water filling station, located at the district's west side. People can drive up to the tap and fill water containers for free.

For more information on Weber Basin and its new garden, go to www.weberbasin.com.


E-mail: lynn@desnews.com