GWSSA board to discuss irrigation start date, possible restrictions for water users at April 15 meeting
by Jeff Richards
Contributing Writer
Apr 11, 2013 | 1464 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

  Ken’s Lake irrigation customers will soon have more information about when they will be able to start watering this season, and what, if any, restrictions will be imposed.

  At their regular meeting April 4, Grand Water and Sewer Service Agency board members decided to hold off on the decision until mid-April. The board has scheduled a special meeting for April 15 at 7 p.m. to discuss the system start-up date and restrictions.

  Last year, GWSSA irrigation customers were allotted 60 percent of their normal allocation, or a 40 percent reduction. This year, a 50 percent reduction may be imposed, board members said during last week’s meeting.

  Although the decision on a 50 percent reduction is not yet official, multiple board members said they are considering recommending that level of cut.

  “Sixty percent [the same as last year’s allocation] is the number we’ve been throwing around for the past few weeks, but after what I’m hearing tonight, it seems overly optimistic,” agency board member Dan Pyatt said during the meeting.

Other board members noted the bleak outlook for the 2013 water year.

  “In 20 years, I’ve never seen anything like this,” said board member Rex Tanner. “I think we’re just going to have to assume a worst-case scenario.”

  “It’s pretty bleak,” agreed fellow board member Gary Wilson.

  Earlier in the meeting, board members had listened to a presentation by Marc Stilson of the Utah Division of Water Rights, who said that 2012 was one of the worst water years on record, and that soil moisture levels are significantly below normal not just in the La Sal Mountains, but in many other areas throughout the state and region.

  Although Ken’s Lake water levels have gone up slightly over the past couple of weeks, the reservoir is still at record-low levels, with a measurement of 411 acre-feet on April 1, or roughly one-third the amount of water typically found in the lake this time of year, according to GWSSA figures.

  GWSSA manager Mark Sovine said that he and agency officials are trying to avoid having to impose any restrictions on culinary water users.

  “We are only looking at irrigation water restrictions at this time,” Sovine said this week, but added, “We will monitor the culinary system and take action as necessary.” 

  In addition, a staggered watering schedule for some irrigation users may be worked out if needed, Sovine added.

  When asked if the recent rain and snowfall had any impact on the water outlook, Sovine said, “This last set of storms did help, as do all storms. However, it is still too early to tell how much.”

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