Drought Response Actions

Utah has been in drought eight out of the last ten years. In our desert state, precipitation isn't promised. Conservation actions during good water years are crucial to help us save water for dry years. Mother Nature's helping, and we can too!

Little changes can make a big difference. Here are key actions we can all take to do our part. Find drought and water condition updates at drought.utah.gov

Action #1

Water Less
It takes approximately 3,000 gallons of water each time you water the average quarter-acre yard, so eliminating even one watering yields big savings. Follow the Weekly Lawn Watering Guide to find out how many days per week you should water based on conditions in your county. A new Low Water Use guide is also available for those who have waterwise turfgrass or value lawn health over appearance!

Action #2

Don't Water if It's Windy
Wind speeds over 5mph will carry your water to your neighbor's yard. Keep your water where you need it by skipping waterings on windy days. Let smart irrigation controllers do the work for you and skip irrigation events automatically when wind is in the forecast.

Action #3

Water at the Right Time
Don't water between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. If you are in Southern Utah, don't water between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. This reduces evaporation loss. The exception to this rule: If it’s windy every night, pick a time that’s less windy (even if it’s during the day unless your area has a time-of-day watering restriction). You could save more water by watering during the day because the loss to wind can be more than evaporation so make adjustments as needed.

Action #4

Prioritize Your Watering

Different plants have different drought tolerance. Large and woody plants are important to keep alive because they can act as shade and have large root systems that improve soil. But they take longer to establish. Grass, however, can go dormant to survive drought. That's why you should prioritize your watering in the following order:

  • Trees
  • Shrubs
  • Perennials
  • Annuals
  • Grass

  • Action #5

    Raise Your Mower
    Set your blades at 3-4 inches. Taller grass means deeper roots that can access water that is deeper in the soil. Tall grass also shades roots and soil to reduce evaporation loss.

    Action #6

    Get a Rebate or Incentive!
    Check out how you can save water and save money. Rebates for smart irrigation controllers and low-flow toilets are available statewide and other rebates may be available from local water providers. Incentives for replacing turfgrass with waterwise landscaping are also available in many municipalities.

    Action #7

    Check with Your Local Provider
    Water restrictions are determined and enforced at the local level, which allows for customization according to the area’s water supply conditions. Check with your local provider and city to learn about conditions, possible restrictions, and other water conservation measures in your area.

    Action #8

    Help Spread the (Dry) Word
    Utilize our printable materials including a flier and lawn signs to help spread the word about the extreme drought conditions Utah is experiencing. Extreme drought calls for extreme water-saving measures by all individuals, businesses, institutions and industries. If you would like us to create something for your organization, email us at waterwise@utah.gov