Washington County is Utah’s hottest and driest region and one of the nation’s fastest growing regions. The county has led the state in water conservation and plans to do more.
Washington County is one of the nation’s fastest growing regions. Current state population projections estimate that the county will increase by 155% by 2060 (1).
In addition to residents, Washington County attracts more than 6 million annual visitors (2) and thousands of seasonal residents who own more than 20% of the county’s homes (3). The high visitor volume and seasonal population add significantly to Washington County’s water demand. The county is currently using more than 90% of its annual reliable water supply (4).
Water Conservation Achievements
Washington County has reduced its per capita water use more than 30% since 2000 – the highest reduction in Utah (5).
Water Conservation Goal
Washington County is striving for an additional 14% reduction in per capita water use by 2030, using 2015 as the baseline. The estimated cost for this level of conservation is $12 million annually (6).
Water Conservation Price Structure
Utah state law requires that all public water providers have tiered water conservation rates, but the district’s board of trustees has passed an “excessive water use fee” in which water users that exceed a specific volume of water per month would be assessed an additional fee of $1.00 per 1,000 gallons. The district anticipates implementing the new fee in 2022. Money generated by the new fee will be used to offset water conservation program costs.
Water Conservation Program Audit
A 2018 audit of the district’s water conservation program conducted by nationally-renowned Maddaus Water Management concluded that the “water efficient program is on par with other notable programs in the western United States and exceeds those of other entities of a similar size and customer base” (7).
Water Conservation Ordinances
The district supports the following municipal ordinances:
Time-of-day watering – prohibits irrigating with potable water between 10 a.m. & 8 p.m. during the summer
Water waste – prohibits excessive irrigation, runoff and leaks
Water-efficiency standards for new construction. These establish a standard for new construction that:
- Requires hot water recirculation systems and individually metered units, with minor exceptions
- Prohibits grass outside of active recreation areas in commercial, institutional and industrial developments
- Limits car wash facilities to a specified number of gallons per washed vehicle
- Establishes a water budget for golf courses and requires irrigation with secondary water
- Prohibits outdoor misting system use when temperatures are under 90 degrees
- Utah Long-Term Planning Projection, Kem C Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, 2022
- Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office, 2020
- Washington County, UT Assessors Office, 2020
- Based on the State of Utah’s source sizing requirement per equivalent residential connection
- Municipal and Industrial Water Use Data, Utah Division of Water Resources, 2019
- Municipal and Industrial Water Use Data, Utah Division of Water Resources, 2015
- Water Conservation Programs: A Comparative Analysis, Maddaus Water Management, 2018