In the April 12 issue of the Emery County Progress we read an article entitled "Good-bye Drought?" Darrel Leamaster reports that "none of the cities will be on turns. It is a happy day that we finally have enough water to get us back to normal."
Orangeville City residents are currently on the same watering schedule the drought has demanded in the past. Scheduling our summer activities around the drought seems to have no end in sight, even though the drought is reportedly over. One retired citizen in Orangeville, who was renting a small home, was required by his land lord to be at home to water all three of the days scheduled for his turn. There was little time to enjoy fishing, camping, or other summer activities, and an overnight stay somewhere was out of the question.
The continued schedule allows Orangeville residents to water every other day except on Sundays. During the drought, this schedule tied us pretty close to home if we did not want to lose our lawns or gardens. Though this was a small price to pay under severe drought conditions, we have paid the price. Other citizens in Orangeville who have contacted me remember having this watering schedule as far back as 10 years ago.
The notice put up by our city states, "We have received enough moisture over the winter months to help bring us out of the severe drought conditions we have experienced over the past few years. We do still need to remember water is a precious commodity and we need to be prudent in use of it. Therefore, the watering schedule will be in force this year until further notice...good conservation practices need to be used,use what you need. There is no need to water continually during the watering hours, please choose either morning or evening to water. Do not over water lawns - they do not need a lot of water to survive, twice a week will be sufficient enough water to keep lawns alive."
We have been informed that all restrictions on secondary irrigation systems have been removed. We probably have enough water to do more than keep our lawns alive.
Years of drought have made us appreciate the moisture we have received. I guess our watering schedule is supposed to be a constant reminder of the years of drought we've endured, and we are still going to be required to have odd or even days so we will not forget it. We have already learned water conservation and practiced it. Where is the rejoicing? Where is the reward for conserving? Where is the trust? Where is the end of the drought for the residents of Orangeville?
We have been put on notice, "No enforcement at this time. Please be honoest in how you use your water alloted."
We have been put on the "Honor System." After years of water restrictions and water conservation practices, we still cannot be trusted to water a couple of times a week during sensible hours on our own. Though there is no enforcement at this time, they will be watching to see if they need to implement the enforcement. Isn't putting us on this continued schedule considered enforcement? When someone is put on an honor system, it is because they are being trusted with the responsibility of doing what is right. We are being put on an honor system without the trust. We are responsible, mature, trustworthy citizens. We can probably handle not abusing our watering privileges. We know how to conserve, and we know how much water we need to use. We have certainly had years of practice.
In other cities, the governments have demonstrated in past years a trust in the citizens they represent. The citizens were allowed to water twice a week during recommended hours except for Sundays. They were given the agency and trust to water without a schedule and the water usage dropped. One city reports using 30 percent less water without being put on watering schedules. Were these citizens trusted because they are responsible, or were they responsible because were trusted?
The drought may be over, but in Orangeville, our overflow is being over regulated. We will be required to continue to try to plan our trips, vacations and our whole summer around when we are allowed to water. We will continue to plan our week by our odd or even day watering schedule. We will do this, knowing that if we miss a turn or two, our integrity and honor are on the line if we have been out of town and want to use the water outside of our turn. We will continue to live under a schedule demanded by drought conditions, while the overflowing river and water that we cannot be trusted with, flows right past our homes and onto Arizona and California.
It is the hope of many citizens in Orangeville that the councilman over the water will reconsider the watering schedule and "Let the people govern themselves."
The watering schedule does not represent the wishes of the majority of the citizens in Orangeville, and it does not demonstrate a decision that is based on trust in the residents of Orangeville. Our city government is supposed to represent the citizens. Let us live without the drought. We would like to be trusted to water as other citizens in the county are trusted, and during recommended times rather than ordered times. We would like to relieve everyone of the fear of being turned in by a neighbor or being caught by a city worker if we do not have our water shut off at exactly 10 p.m. We are writing this letter to the editor because citizens have contacted us with concerns over the new, or old, watering schedule. We would like to encourage these citizens and others to take a stand and be an advocate for their rights and the rights of others. We have a beautiful, great little city and acknowledge that many in our city government who now serve and who have served in the past are largely responsible for this.
"All in all, it is a happy day that we finally have enough water to get us back to normal." District Manager of the Castle Valley Special Service District.