Gary Sonntag, the Public Works Director and Price City Engineer, discussed where the area currently stands with the dry season we’ve been having, and what is being done in regards to water conservation efforts.
“There are a couple of reasons,” said Sonntag. “It is obvious that we’ve had a dry winter and spring, and a somewhat dry summer. Although recently we’ve received some moisture, which helps, it’s hard to catch up when we’ve had such a dry winter. When we have a dry winter we don’t have the snow pack to fill the reservoir. That gives a lot of concern to those who manage the reservoir, and in particular the River Commissioner, who leases the water and keeps track of the quantities used. We’ve had a meeting with him as well as a State Engineer Representative to discuss this. It was determined that we needed to do something to help throttle the water, or ‘slow the flow’, as they say in the state office.”
“We remembered the 1992 water restrictions that were put in place, because of the severe drought that particular year. People actually used more water the more we restricted it, so it was counter productive. We don’t want to get into that same predicament this year.”
“There were multiple resolutions implemented by the city council [in 1992] to help control the flow of water through restrictions. Some of the restrictions were that people could only water at certain times during the day, and only at certain times during the week, depending on if they were odd or even addresses. The large water users had an even more restricted watering schedule. One of the things we tried to do was not water on Sunday. By not watering on Sunday, it reduces the demand on the system and we can rely on what is in storage. That allows the water treatment plant to shut down for a few hours so that they can do maintenance on the system, on the sedimentation basins and other mechanized portions of the plant.”
“What happened was we went from allowing people to water three days a week, to two days a week, to one day a week, and eventually got where there was no outside watering allowed, so that we had enough water to at least drink, bathe and eat. This also allowed us to maintain a sufficient amount of water in the water tanks for back-up and for fire protection, should there be a large fire somewhere.”
“What we think we need to do this year, is educate people on wise water use through water conservation. If they do that, I think we’ll be able to throttle the water just enough that by the time we get to the end of the season, we’ll have enough water in the reservoir. With a good snow year, we’ll be able to fill the reservoir back up. We don’t want to get into a situation where we get to the fall, say November, and find out the reservoir is empty. It takes too much to fill it back up. We want to have a good start on next year.вЂќ
The reservoir holds 65 thousand acre feet of water. 59.6% of that is still in the reservoir currently, Sonntag pointed out. However, of that 65 thousand, five thousand of it remains in the “dead pool”. The dead pool is water that cannot get out of the reservoir because it is pooled in low spots within the reservoir that keep it from flowing to the outlet near the dam and the spillway.
“I’ve enlisted the help of my staff to develop some water conservation measures that I think will help this summer. В It will help us even more so next year, because people will already be thinking about it and they will already be up to speed,” said Sonntag.
“Water conservation is nothing new, people just have to be reminded. That’s what we hope to accomplish. Price City is trying to look at it’s own watering schedule in the parks and the cemetery. We’ve recently reduced the water flow and the frequency of sprinkling at the Terrace Hill Park by approximately 40%, which we feel pretty good about. We’ll address the other parks in the next days and weeks to reduce the frequency and the flow of water.вЂќ
Sonntag wanted to let people know that currently there are no regulations in place, and that there doesn’t ever have to be, as long as people use their water sparingly.
“We’re not enforcing any regulations right now. We’re appealing to the good sense and willingness of every water user in the city to use their water wisely. We’re going to try to help them through specific water conservation measures,” said Sonntag.