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Parkites use lots of water

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

People in buildings connected to City Hall’s water system used 9.8 million gallons of water on July 19, a record amount for a single day, the local government reported.

The record was set as officials continued their long-running efforts to curb the amount of water people use in the summer, an indication that the conservation efforts, though well-publicized, have not been as influential as City Hall would like.

Kathy Lundborg, the water manager, said spigots were not in danger of going dry. The daily water capacity, which changes depending on the time of year, is currently 11.3 million gallons per day.

But the record-setting day was disheartening for the local government, and Lundborg said the Public Works Department is studying why the number jumped.

A City Hall-released chart of daily water use from July 21 until July 27 shows the numbers ranged between 7.8 million gallons on July 27 to 8.4 million gallons, which was recorded on two days between the two dates.

The Public Works Department said this week it wants Parkites to use, at most, 7.7 million gallons per day. The department said the figure of 7.7 million gallons represents 85 percent of the daily water-production capacity in a dry year.

"To me, what it says is there’s not enough awareness of how sensitive it can be," Lundborg said.

The record day was an anomaly, and Lundborg said the number spiked more than 1 million gallons in one day. She said people in Park Meadows and Prospector accounted for most of the jump.

The jump occurred during the Triple Crown World Series softball tournament, which brought scores of people to Park City. It is unclear, however, if the softball visitors caused the spike.

City Hall officials have long urged Parkites to conserve water, saying Park City sits in an arid climate and the water supply depends on melting snow. Park City wants to tap a water pipeline someday to boost the supply, but it currently relies on underground sources and springs, which are both fed by melting snow.

Most of the water used in the summer is for sprinkling. Park City restricts daytime watering during the summer and allows people to water their yards every other day based on addresses, with some people volunteering to water every three days instead. Officials this summer have written 14 tickets for watering violations and issued 153 warnings.

Lundborg said it appears the peak period for water use has passed after lasting from the beginning of July until the end of that month. She said the peak period in 2007, when it started in mid-June, was longer than it was in 2008.

Meanwhile, City Hall is offering to fund up to $100 to have a professional check the efficiency of sprinkler systems at houses and businesses connected to the municipal water system. For more information about the program, call Tamara Lindsay, who manages water-conservation programs for City Hall, at 615-5331.


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