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Herriman Journal

Conservation, wet winter make for brighter picture of local water situation

Feb 03, 2023 08:07AM ● By Justin Adams

Trial Lake and other reservoirs in the Uintah Mountains that feed into the local water supply have benefitted from an extra wet winter this year. (Photo via

“You’d have to live under a rock to not know that we’re getting a lot of water this year, so that’s a really good thing,” Herriman City Councilmember Sherrie Ohrn said during a January meeting.

As the council’s liaison to the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District board, Ohrn presented some information to the council about the state’s current drought conditions.

“We use Trial Lake as our measuring point because it feeds a lot of different river basins, and the snow water equivalent up there right now is 15 inches, and that’s a lot. It exceeds what our peak usually is,” she said. 

The state has received so much winter precipitation, in fact, that many of its key reservoirs (at least in the north) could fill back up to regular levels for the first time in years.

“In an average year, we usually get 100,000 acre feet of water. This year, based on some of the calculations, we might end up with 200,000 acre feet. Coincidentally, our reservoirs are down about 100,000 acre feet,” Ohrn said. “We might have an opportunity to fill our reservoirs this year, which would be great. But that’s just our reservoirs around here. That will not fill Lake Powell or Lake Mead. We’re not out of this water issue.”

Later in the same meeting, Public Works Director Justun Edwards presented some numbers to the council about water use in Herriman City.

From 2020 to 2021, the city decreased its total water usage from 3.77 billion gallons to 3.19 billion. As of November 2022, the city was at 2.99 billion gallons.

“The statistic that’s interesting is the percentage decrease. Last year there was a lot of messaging from the governor’s office all the way down to municipalities, and our residents responded. We had about a 14% decrease last year,” Edwards said. 

As for Herriman City, they were able to reduce water usage by 27% in 2021 and by another 12% this year. 

“At all of our facilities and parks, we’ve had substantial decreases. I’d like to commend our parks department for making tremendous strides,” Edwards said. “They’ve instituted some best-management practices such as weekly inspections of irrigation systems, modified irrigation schedules, installed flow sensors and replaced old controllers.”

“People are trying hard and working hard to make these changes. It’s also important for us as a city to show that we are leading by example,” Ohrn said. 

The council urged residents to not get complacent about water conservation despite the good news. After all, there’s no guarantee of more wet winters like the one we’ve experienced this year, and there’s also a lot more demand for water coming down the pipeline.

“With the Olympia project, that’s going to bring another 6,600 homes over however many years. The Rio Tinto corporation applied to annex about 2,200 acres into South Jordan City that’s going to add another 11,000 homes on top of that. That’s a lot of housing that’s going to be using a lot of water,” Councilmember Steven Shields said. 

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