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The City Journals

Conserving our water

Oct 28, 2016 12:18PM ● By Briana Kelley

Local scouts work to convert city land to a more water-wise landscape. (Rick Maloy/South Jordan City)

By Briana Kelley | [email protected]

South Jordan, Utah - Water conservation is working. That was the message from South Jordan City’s Water Conservation Coordinator Rick Maloy during his presentation to the city council on Sept. 20. 

South Jordan leaders have invested in water conservation practices that can directly benefit residents, including rebates for plants, indoor water fixtures and toilets. The city also provides vouchers for drip system conversion kits.

“In the last two years we’ve saved nearly 10 gallons per capita per day,” Maloy said. “Each resident has cut use by nearly 10 gallons.” If these trends continue, Maloy said the city is on track to reach its goal of a 5 percent reduction by 2020.

The water conservation program started in September 2014 as a response to higher water demands. The city wanted a more cost-effective way to save water, and Water Smart SoJo was the result. 

“We recognized that we were hitting a level where we needed to think about developing a different infrastructure or start saving water, not just in  South Jordan but the rest of the valley will have more people and more demand on the water system than we will have water in the future. We can either cut our water usage or develop our infrastructure. Since water is a limited resource, and developing new ways to get more water is expensive, we decided it was cheaper and more effective to use water conservation,” 

City leaders have conducted a multi-pronged approach to water conservation. First is the rebate programs, which Maloy said grows each year. Second is education, including visits to elementary schools, materials for students and teachers, and semiannual workshops for the public. 

City officials have also focused on converting city park-strips from grass to a landscape that features water-wise plants and water-wise rock mulch system. Currently, the city has removed over 10,000 square feet of turf grass park-strips and changed them to water-wise plants with an estimated savings of 300,000 gallons each year.

Maloy estimates that there is an 86 percent savings on water when a park-strip is changed from grass to landscaped bushes and shrubs because it changes the watering system from a spray system to a point and drip system. Currently, city officials are working on updating the language in city code to better allow for more water-wise systems in park-strips.

Maloy has worked with residents, including Scouts, to complete these projects. One Eagle Scout converted a city park entrance at 2200 West that has saved 45,000 gallons of water just this year alone. 

Another Eagle Scout converted a section of park strip on 13000 West and 10400 South. With help from city leaders and family and friends, they completed the entire project in just a few hours on a Saturday. The park-strip was using 20,000 gallons each month; the renovation cut that down to less than 1,000 gallons per month. 

Maloy also recently helped a senior couple replace their park strip, saving them about 1,500 gallons per month simply by replacing a little section of their park-strip with rock.

The program also has a website,, which has drawn over 13,000 visits since its creation. The site provides information and education specific to South Jordan residents and is designed to provide water saving information, resources and tools, according to Maloy.

“This is a phenomenal tool,” Maloy said. “It has been a great resource for our residents,” Maloy encourages those with questions about rebates or the city’s conservation program to visit the website.