There has been much talk and concern about the drought this year. Homeowners have been on strict turns and rations for secondary irrigation water usage throughout the summer. Through their efforts, homeowners throughout the county have conserved considerable amounts of water making it possible to extend the irrigation water throughout August.
In some of the cities of Emery County the irrigation canals have been drained and no more secondary irrigation water will be available. In Castle Dale and Orangeville the water was taken out of the canals on Sept. 3. In Huntington, Cleveland and Elmo the water was taken out of the canals on Aug. 28. In Ferron, Clawson and Emery the secondary water is still on, but it is expected that their supplies will run out by the middle of September, and their systems will then be shut off.
In Castle Dale and Orangeville no additional secondary irrigation water will be available for the rest of the year. The secondary irrigation storage ponds have some water in them, but when it is gone there will be no more water available.
In Huntington, Cleveland and Elmo there will be some additional water available. The Huntington, Cleveland Irrigation Company has issued a letter stating that they "may be able to deliver a five day only regular call for irrigation water. This call is available only to those with water remaining to be delivered, and is limited to 20 percent of that remaining amount." This will mean that Huntington, Cleveland and Elmo will have at least one more turn to water. The water will be turned back into the systems next week and left on until the secondary irrigation water is gone.
Darrel Leamaster, the manager of the Castle Valley Special Service District, stated that homeowners have been very cooperative with conserving water and need to be congratulated. Water usage was greatly reduced this year.
For example, Orangeville used 556 acre feet of irrigation water this year from April to the end of August compared to last years usage of 670 acre feet for a savings of 17 percent. The average usage from April to August has been 771 acre feet, so the overall savings this year was 28 percent.
"These savings are typical for what we have seen on all of our systems and we do appreciate everyone's cooperation," Leamaster said.
Residents are asked not to use culinary (drinking water) systems to water their lawns and gardens. According to Leamaster the culinary systems do not have the treatment capacity to provide that much water. Also, the cities must have water shares to cover their usage of water whether the water comes from the culinary or secondary system.
They have used their shares and additional water is not available.
If there is more hot, dry weather, lawns may turn yellow and go dormant. However, next spring when they are watered they should recover, and return to strong healthy lawns.
"Compared with other areas in the state, Emery County water supplies have held up remarkably well. We have experienced one of the driest water years on record and have been able to get through it. Let's all hope and pray for a lot of snow this winter,' Leamaster said.