With its announcement on August 4 that $190 million was funded for grants to install secondary water meters, the Utah Department of Water Resources anticipates that almost 54,000 acre-feet of water will be conserved.
For visualization, the 54,000 AF is about the size of East Canyon Reservoir, a popular destination for visitors interested in Utah’s history.
Secondary water is untreated water that does not meet the EPA’s safe drinking water standards but is usable for irrigation and other outdoor uses that do not require potable water. It is delivered by pressurized pipelines or ditches to water districts, irrigation companies and cities for the irrigation of lawns, gardens, cemeteries, parks, and other open spaces. Metering secondary water deliveries helps with planning and management of water deliveries. The State writes that 2018 data indicates that unmetered secondary water deliveries use about 50% more water than metered secondary deliveries.
The $190 million in funding will install an estimated 114,000 secondary water meters. There are currently 260,000 secondary water connections, with only 15% metered. HB 242 requires metering of all secondary water systems by 2030.
The Board still has around $60 million in grants funds still available for secondary meters. A third round of funding will be announced soon.
East Canyon Overlook on the California and Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trails (2009), National Park Service photography on Wikimedia.