The Park Record Editorial
July 3, 2007
With dust puffing out from under hiking boots and bike tires, it is impossible not to fret about the heat and the lack of rain. This unusually arid summer weather has arrived on the heels of a dry winter prompting Park City officials to enact Stage 1 drought conservation measures.
The city’s concerns are well founded even though the restrictions have met with some angst from a handful developers who are trying to nurture new landscaping. Water consumption is currently drinking up 85 percent of the city’s source capacity leaving only a sip in the event of an extended drought or a major fire.
For the most part, Park City residents are accustomed to moderating their outside watering and are cooperating with the every-other-day rules but the restrictions are likely to become more intense if the dry weather and heat continue.
Already some are muttering about whether the current drought might indicate more than a temporary dry spell. But, while there is plenty of room for debate about global warming there is no doubt that local water companies are trying to serve more people and water more lawns than ever before.
The city and other entities have worked to secure additional water sources but a quick tour of new construction in town and on the East Side of the county suggests that water is going to be precious commodity, even in a normal snow year.
As this hot summer wears on homeowners are likely to find themselves caught between the lavish landscaping requirements of their homeowners associations and severe government restrictions on outside watering. Some may be forced to let their lawns and gardens wither. But the alternative — the inability to fight a wildfire that is threatening neighborhoods is unacceptable.
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This summer’s drought, while uncomfortable, is an important reminder that the community’s growth and its residents’ quality of life are dependent on finite natural resources and how carefully they are tended.