Idaho Falls encouraging residents to conserve water amid looming megadrought
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The following is a news release from the city of Idaho Falls.
IDAHO FALLS – The City of Idaho Falls remains committed to water conservation and encourages its residents to do their part in preserving one of our most valuable natural resources.
Despite recent precipitation and cool temperatures, eastern Idaho remains under drought conditions. Crop yields are expected to be low and pastures face poor conditions. Well levels are declining and water shortages are expected to occur. Local farmers face early canal shut-off or other measures due to the seriousness of the drought this summer.
“We can all do our part to be a solution to the challenge we face as a region,” said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. “As we use less water, while it may seem small, every drop we save will add up in preserving this vital resource for city residents and our local economy.”
The City of Idaho Falls will be sending representatives to the WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) Roadmap workshop on April 18 to better understand how we can participate in projects to conserve water. The City urges other cities, water districts, canal companies and other interested parties to participate in the workshop as part of a unified effort to conserve water.
“Now is as important as ever to have a conversation about smart and conservative use of one of our most valuable natural resources,” said Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition President Roger Warner. “Attending this workshop can help us learn more about options to receive assistance in protecting our valuable water resources.”
When saving water around the house, little things like turning off the water while you brush your teeth, fixing small leaks in faucets or changing out old inefficient fixtures can all have an impact. You can learn more about these fixtures here.
“As technology in water fixtures have progressed, so has the water savings,” said Idaho Falls Water Division Superintendent, Dave Richards. “Installing WaterSense labeled fixtures can save the average household of three people 5,100 gallons of water a year. The water-saving features also reduce energy usage in the home, saving you money on electric or gas utility bills.”
As part of the ongoing effort to conserve water, the City of Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Department has established landscaping that uses less water and upgraded irrigation systems that water only when necessary. A recent update to the irrigation system at Pinecrest Golf Course will prove critical to the City’s efforts in conserving water.
Another option is xeriscaping which is landscaping with native east Idaho plants specifically adapted to our climate. These plants use less water and fertilizer and are just one method Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation utilizes to play a role in water conservation.
“Xeriscaping can reduce and eliminate the need for irrigation in our area,” said Parks and Recreation Director PJ Holm. “At the Idaho Falls Parks and Rec Department, we have made it a priority to strategically look at ways we can implement xeriscaping around the City and in our parks.”
Parks and Recreation as well as other City departments continue to proactively look at other water-saving measures. The City is also working to collaborate with other agencies like the Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition for best practice water conservation.
The WaterSMART workshop, being offered by the Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition and US Bureau of Reclamation, will educate water districts, canal companies and cities learn about potential grant opportunities. These federal grants provide funding for small-scale projects to help conserve and use water more efficiently. The workshop is just one way the EIWRC promotes ideas for water management and policies that will sustain future agricultural use, population growth, and economic development.
“While it may seem nice to have the greenest grass on the block, using less water this summer will help support local farmers who may be facing serious challenges,” Casper said. “Day to day water conservation will pay off later on in the summer while our region’s water supply sits desperately low.”
For more water conservation tips, visit the city’s website.