There are thousands of traditional park strips and parking lot islands full of grass across Salt Lake County-owned properties and facilities. A new water conservation proposal aims to prioritize the largest 132 with water-wise designs to save millions of gallons per year.
The proposed xeriscaping spans 39 different County facilities and were selected based on their size –totaling about three football fields – and therefore large water footprint, as well as diverse geographic spread across the valley. Flipping these strips will save Salt Lake County approximately 5.2 million gallons of water each year.
“The drought has increased our sense of urgency for water conservation, but that need already existed with Salt Lake County’s growing population,” said Mayor Jenny Wilson. “Last year we made a commitment to reduce our water use, and we did. This is one of many long-lasting conservation solutions that will help protect our residents’ quality of life, our watershed, and the future of the Great Salt Lake.”
Park strips and parking lot islands are never used by the public and can range in size from a couple dozen square feet to thousands of square feet. Park strips consume on average 5,000 to 8,000 gallons of water each year, according to Utah Water Savers. The proposal also includes plans to make the sprinkling systems at the County’s Government Center more efficient by targeting priorities, like the trees.
“This proposal represents a proactive investment in water conservation measures by the County,” said Michael Shea, Salt Lake County’s Environmental Sustainability Director. “We are no longer looking at just cutting back water use but making concrete changes which will help us reduce in the long term.”
The proposal to xeriscape 132 park strips and islands totals $2 million and is eligible for American Rescue Plan Act funds (ARPA).
At the beginning of the 2022 Water Summit, Mayor Wilson announced the County reduced its water use by 13% after she challenged all operations to cut use at least 5% in 2021. These new, proposed water saving measures will further the County’s overall reduction and long-term water-wise strategies.
Like Salt Lake County, residents can also conserve thousands of gallons of more water each year and help the Great Salt Lake. Find an available Flip Your Strip program in your city at utahwatersavers.com and get a rebate when you replace lawn with water-efficient designs.
For more information about Salt Lake County’s water conservation measures and information shared at the 2022 Water Summit, visit http://slcoh20.org.