Payson City joins list of Utah communities to enforce water restrictions

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PAYSON, Utah - Utah cities will be enforcing water restrictions this summer due to the lack of precipitation. Payson City officials turned on their irrigation system Monday, but say residents will need to cut down the time they water their lawns.

"I'm worried that we may run out of water this year," said David Tuckett, manager of Payson City.

Tuckett said he can't remember a drier season since he started working for Payson City Public Works 23 years ago.

"We could've had drier years, but I'm not aware of any," he said.

Tuckett said water restrictions will be in place for all residents in the area during the warmer months.

"Last year, we didn't impose those restrictions till later in the summer," he said. "But with the water year, we feel like we need to all work together as the city and citizens to conserve the best they can."

Restrictions include odd and even numbered homes watering every other day, shortening watering times to 15 to 20 minutes per day and refraining from

watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

"We also ask the bigger users – churches, schools and city property - to water during the day so it can help the pressure for the citizens when they water in the morning and nighttime," Tuckett said.

Residents who don't comply will first receive a warning, then fines of up to $750.

Chris Finlinson from the Central Utah Water Conservancy District said reservoirs still have some water stored from previous years, but it’s not enough to help everyone.

"Those agriculture users who don't have any storage water or water that has been stored in reservoirs, who are dependent upon streams, will have a very difficult year," she said.

Tuckett said they're bracing for the worst, but hoping the water they do have will last through the season.

"A plea to the citizens, if they would try to conserve the best they can, we as a city are going to try to conserve, as well. And hopefully we can make it through the irrigation year," he said.

The Payson City Council will meet for their regular meeting Wednesday night where they will be discussing the issue. They'll be taking public input and may tighten restrictions further at that time.