Skip to main content

The City Journals

Water providers in West Valley City upbeat over summer outlook

Jun 07, 2021 01:14PM ● By Darrell Kirby

By Darrell Kirby | [email protected]

With another winter of below-normal snowfall, Gov. Spencer Cox declared a state of emergency in March as 90% of Utah fell into “extreme drought” conditions. The governor urged Utahns to conserve water as summer approaches. 

Closer to home, the call to save water is just as urgent, but the picture is not as dire among the three agencies that provide the resource to residents and businesses in West Valley City. 

The general managers of Granger-Hunter Improvement District, Kearns Improvement District, and Magna Water District say that there will be enough water to fulfill the needs of their customers this summer with no anticipated voluntary or mandatory restrictions on usage. 

Jason Helm, who heads GHID, said that Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District, the wholesale supplier from which his district buys 75% of its water, has indicated that there will be enough to go around this summer. “They’re not anticipating any shortages this year,” he said, citing the amount of water currently in reservoirs that feed JVWCD and ultimately GHID. The remaining 25% of GHID water is drawn from wells. 

GHID serves 12,000 customers in the eastern half of West Valley City and a few pockets outside the city. “There’s nothing (in the way of restrictions) this year that we’re going to mandate. Come next year, it could be a whole other story,” Helm said. Limits on outdoor watering and other conservation measures could be implemented for 2022 if precipitation again falls short next winter and spring. 

Kearns Improvement District provides water to 13,000 homes and businesses in southwestern West Valley City as well as Kearns and parts of Taylorsville and West Jordan. Like Granger-Hunter, KID also purchases most of its water from Jordan Valley. Less than 10% comes from groundwater. 

“We’re not planning on any formal water restrictions at this point. There is enough water available to meet the needs of our area,” said general manager Pamela Gill. 

In the Magna Water District, 85% of the water is pulled from the ground by district-owned wells. “It’s a much more reliable supply in terms of drought resilience,” said general manager Clint Dilley. “The groundwater sources are the first to recharge (from snowmelt) before lakes and reservoirs. We don’t anticipate any mandatory restrictions on our groundwater supply this year.” The remainder of the water for MWD’s 9,000 connections comes from Jordan Valley.

For its part, Jordan Valley Water Conservancy says the water will flow as usual in 2021. 

“Jordan Valley Water does not anticipate any water shortages or limitations to its ability to meet contract deliveries for this year. The key to our stability has been efforts over several years to become more prepared for the uncertainty of future weather and climate patterns, development trends and population growth,” general manager Bart Forsyth wrote in a letter to member agencies. 

JVWCD public information manager Linda Townes cautioned that there are no guarantees beyond 2021. “We are subject to the whims of Mother Nature and have no idea what the snowpack will be next year, so it’s always prudent to use less this year so there’s more available next year.”

Helms, Gill, and Dilley say consumers are generally using less water these days. “Within our boundaries of Granger-Hunter, we have seen a reduction in the last 15 or 20 years,” Helms said, crediting more efficient sprinkler systems, faucets, shower heads, toilets and leak repairs. He and his fellow water managers say ongoing conservation education campaigns have also contributed to slowing the flow. Customers who use excessive water will pay the price through each district’s tiered rate structure which boosts rates exponentially with increased consumption. 

Water-saving tips and information can be found at conservewater.utah.gov