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August 5, 2021

Alpine’s water tanks refill after 1-day ban on watering

Alpine is instituting new water restrictions amid this year’s drought. (Jay Dortzbach, KSL TV)

ALPINE — Water storage tanks in Alpine City refilled overnight after the city issued a one-day pause on outdoor watering and new restrictions, allowing residents to only water lawns twice a week.

“We had one tank go empty and another one was at one foot,” said city engineer Jed Muhlestein.

Muhlestein said both the city’s drinking water and irrigation water systems have been struggling because of the drought.

“We’ve never seen it this bad before,” he said. “We’re in the worst conditions the city has ever seen.”

Alpine receives its water from two sources: streams and wells.

“Our streamflow is essentially at zero,” Muhlestein said.

On Thursday, the city announced that the water system was at capacity and not able to meet the demand for outdoor watering.

“Our tanks are essentially like a toilet flush, they fill and empty every day, but the goal is to not have them go completely empty at night,” Muhlestein explained. “If they go completely empty, then a lot of problems occur in our system, so we can’t let that happen.”

Residents were told to not water overnight Thursday into Friday, and then to follow these new rules:

  • All residential properties with odd numbered addresses shall only water outdoors on Mondays and Fridays 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. to following morning.
  • All residential properties with even numbered addresses shall only water outdoors on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. the following morning.
  • Agricultural users shall only water between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • All users are being asked to reduce watering by 25%. This is in addition to reducing the number of days you water.

The overnight pause on watering was helpful and allowed the water tanks to refill, Muhlestein told KSL-TV.

Muhlestein said the city’s water system can only provide so much pressure at a time, which is why parks, along with agricultural users, are allowed to water during the day. He said the watering of lawns at city parks has been cut in half this summer.

“The mayor has expressly asked the city and our code enforcement officer to make the rounds and make sure people are following the restrictions,” Muhlestein said.

Residents will first be issued a warning, Muhlestein said. On the second violation, the city will lock the resident’s outdoor water system and require a $50 fine to unlock it.

“Moving forward, we do not have the same supply coming off the mountain that we usually had in the past,” Muhlestein said. “Therefore, our citizens need to take extra action to conserve water.”

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