By Kim Bell, Guest Blogger
DEQ invites guest bloggers to share their thoughts on issues that impact our environment. We appreciate their insights and the opportunity to broaden the conversation with others in the community.
Public utilities maintain waterlines, protect drinking water, and coordinate, plan, inspect, review, and construct capital improvement projects that deliver safe, clean water to our homes and businesses. In order to do so, they need an adequate water supply and quality water sources to make that happen. That’s why Sandy City’s Public Utilities department launched a new public outreach initiative called ONE Water Way…because all of us need to do our part to protect one of our most precious resources: our water.
The goal of Sandy ONE Water Way is to educate the public on good stewardship of our waterways —from the protection of watersheds that provide us with drinking water to groundwater source protection to stream water-quality improvements to water conservation — and all other “ways” we can enjoy, protect, and enhance our water environment.
Improved understanding of the ways water quality and water quantity impact each other is key to reducing consumption, employing water conservation principles and practices, ensuring the quality of our drinking water, and preventing water pollution. The Sandy ONE Water Way program provides Sandy City residents with the tools to become better stewards of our water.
Here are a few of the resources we offer through the Sandy ONE Water Way program on our web.
Water Watch (formerly Aquahawk)
We all know how important it is to conserve water, but sometimes it’s hard to know how much we’re actually using. Sandy City’s Water Watch program can help. The program lets you set alerts for your water usage, see how much water you use in a day or an hour, set a monthly water budget, and control expenses — all for free.
Water Watch lets you specify an amount of water (gallons) or an estimated bill amount you don’t want to exceed. If your water consumption or bill amount has exceeded or is projected to exceed the threshold value, Water Watch will send you a notification.
Slow the Flow, Save H2O
Utah is one of the top five driest states in the nation and also one of the fastest growing. Our population will nearly double by 2065! The need to use water efficiently is critical for meeting our future water needs. Governor Herbert challenged Utah to improve efficiency by 25 percent by 2025.
The Governor’s Water Conservation Team (GWCT), established in 2000, consists of conservation representatives from the Utah Division of Water Resources, the five largest water conservancy districts in Utah…and you!
Slow the Flow Save H2O, funded by the GWCT, is an education campaign to raise awareness, empower residents, and connect Utahns to tools and resources for water conservation. This campaign is part of a bigger statewide movement, including independent regional and local programs, to promote sustainable water use.
Starting May 21, 2018, FREE water audits became available through the Slow the Flow program to residents across the state. Utah State University (USU) water auditors will come to your home and check your sprinklers for uniform distribution and point out any adjustments you need to make so your system is more efficient. Sign up online to get a FREE water check if you live in Salt Lake City, Sandy City, Eagle Mountain, Iron County, or Washington County. Call 801-771-1677 to sign up for a water check in Weber, Davis, Morgan, and Summit counties, or contact your local USU County Extension Office for information and materials on conducting your own water check.
Sego Lily Gardens and Water Conservation
If you save water, you save money, energy, and help save the environment. Sandy City has its own water conservation demonstration garden — Sego Lily Gardens. Come visit us at 1472 East Sego Lily Drive (10200 South) and learn how to use water conservation principles and practices to create a beautiful and water-wise landscape. The gates are open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and admission is free.
Check out our Water Conservation Tips and USU’s Water Check Fact Sheets to make the most efficient use of your sprinkler system. Remember, the Sandy City Sprinkling Ordinance prohibits watering between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Keep It Pure
Whether you picnic, hike, ski, snowboard, mountain bike, rock climb or simply enjoy the beauty of our canyons, remember that what you see in the watershed today you may drink tomorrow.
A watershed is a geographical or geological area of land that catches the rain and snow drained by a single river system. All surface and groundwater that contributes to a stream is part of that watershed system. This water is our drinking water!
Various canyons along the Wasatch Front are an important source of our drinking water and are designated “Protected Watershed Areas.” The cleaner our water is at its source, the easier and less costly to treat. Our activities and actions, both on the hillsides and around the water source impact the quality of our drinking water. Regulations govern our activity in these areas so this vital source of drinking water will be kept clean. The Keep It Pure program reminds us of the ways we can help protect our watershed, like not swimming or camping in protected watershed areas or bringing dogs into these watersheds.
Stormwater: We All Live Downstream
Stormwater comes from rain, snow, hail, and sleet. When “storm” runoff enters the storm drain system through the gutters along the roads outside your homes, it flows untreated into the waters we use for swimming, fishing, and other recreational activities.
Pollutants can collect in stormwater runoff and make their way into our waters. Pet waste, fertilizer, oil, and plant debris are picked up as they enter the city’s catch basins. From there, this untreated water flows through a massive system of pipes and channels through the Jordan River, Little Cottonwood Creek, Dry Creek, and eventually to the Great Salt Lake. Anything dumped, dropped on the ground that makes its way into the gutter pollutes our stormwater, which in turn pollutes our waterways.
Sandy ONE Water Way
Our commitment to our community is to ensure water quality, water conservation, and water protection. We hope that the tools and resources provided to Sandy City residents through our Sandy ONE Water Way portal helps members of the public learn how they can help us protect our water resources. Together, we can make a difference.
This blog provides just a taste of all we have to offer through our web portal. Please visit us at Sandy ONE Water Way for more information and tips. You can learn more about your public utilities department and the services we provide by visiting our Sandy City web page or the web page of your local public utility. We proudly work together to provide quality utility services to our customers!
My experience includes working in government finance, public outreach/education and public relations. I implement strategic communication and public outreach messaging for water-related issues. I manage regulatory, financial, technical and public engagement encounters delivering improved efficiencies, reliability, and environmental stewardship. I received my Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.