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Old 04-14-2013, 08:34 AM
 
Location: SLC
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kletter1mann -

I too am new to the area and am not informed about the relevant statistics. Your observations seem to be on the mark, but what is not clear is the supply side of the equation. If the water were in abundant supply, the water use issue is not of concern, otherwise it is. In our search for houses, we almost bought a place where the annual water bill was about $1300. So, people who use the water for lawn etc. do pay a price; whether that is high enough to discourage such use is a different matter. But, whether such use needs to be discouraged is not clear to me.
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:42 AM
 
Location: East Millcreek
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Thoughts appreciated, that's more or less what I was looking for. To clarify further...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
Utah is the 2nd driest state in the country but the Wasatch Front is far wetter than the large desert sunbelt cites like Las Vegas or Phoenix and in a totally different natural biome. I wouldn't call it a "desert" at all; it's a completely different environment than say, the Great Basin further West or the Colorado plateau (Red Rock country).
I should have been clearer. Yes, the Wasatch Front (WF) is very, very far from a desert, even to a New Yorker. It was the desert that got me to thinking about it. IMO the desert sunbelt cities are perfect and OBVIOUS examples of unsustainablility. The water use ethos in Vegas is flat out insane. I think that people wash their cars more there than in NY. Still, the WF is pretty arid on an absolute scale. That lead me to wonder what the local water use ethic is and how the issue is perceived.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
Someone who is used to the environment of New York might feel differently but that's probably because they haven't spent much time living in the desert. That's not to say we aren't at risk for droughts but compared to many places out West, Salt Lake is practically drowning in water.
Even the northeast has droughts from time to time. Anyway, I guess what you're saying is that water is seen as fundemenatal problem along the WF and that common-sense conservation measures are enough to manage growth?
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Old 04-14-2013, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kletter1mann View Post

...Even the northeast has droughts from time to time. Anyway, I guess what you're saying is that water is seen as fundemenatal problem along the WF and that common-sense conservation measures are enough to manage growth?
I'd say the local powers that be have been very good (maybe too good ) about securing water rights and building reservoirs which allows us to waste water like we live in someplace wet and get away with it. We've got contingency plans too... right now most of Utah's legal allotment of Colorado river water ends up being used by NV and CA because we currently don't need it, but those places downstream couldn't do much about it if we decided to take our fair share someday.

You are right about Las Vegas though... that place just doesn't have a future. Everybody knows it, even the people who live there. Once Lake Mead is gone it will cease to exist... and Lake Mead is getting smaller in capacity every year due to silt buildup.

Salt Lake is lucky in that aspect... we depend on snowpack from our mountains (the Wasatch and Uintas) and while that varies somewhat from year to year it's virtually perpetually sustainable (barring some large scale ecological catastrophe, anyway).
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:39 AM
 
Location: South Jordan, Utah
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It does seem like the distribution of water in the valley is efficient, I see those little creeks running from the river all over the place. Out by me they have little paddle-wheel driven pumps that pump water to the local farms, it is a neat system.

I am not sure about long term, being that we do get a lot of snow in the mountains, harnessing it would increase if we start to run low.

The odd part about the snow is how dry it is, it snowed the night before last yet by morning the streets were dry. I never see a lot of runoff in the valley, or as much as I would think there should be.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:01 AM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
5,739 posts, read 12,626,581 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hilgi View Post
The odd part about the snow is how dry it is, it snowed the night before last yet by morning the streets were dry. I never see a lot of runoff in the valley, or as much as I would think there should be.
A bit funny to read *how dry the snow is* ...
In a sense, you are absolutely right !

Snow is mostly air, and very little water, so one needs quite a bit in order to end up with *water* after it melts.

Snow, especially when it lays on black tarmac, melts due to the sun shining on it.
Then as it melts, the black area around the snow layer, warms up speeding up the melting process.
Whatever water content that tiny layer of snow had, will be evaporating faster then you think.
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:38 PM
 
Location: East Millcreek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irman View Post
A bit funny to read *how dry the snow is* ...
In a sense, you are absolutely right !

Snow is mostly air, and very little water, so one needs quite a bit in order to end up with *water* after it melts.

Snow, especially when it lays on black tarmac, melts due to the sun shining on it.
Then as it melts, the black area around the snow layer, warms up speeding up the melting process.
Whatever water content that tiny layer of snow had, will be evaporating faster then you think.
Is she may be talking about how FAST it gets dry after a snowfall? It's much, much faster than in the East where things stay wet and soggy for days after a snowfall even if it's warm enough to melt everything. My observation is that in SLC it's gone in a flash if it's sunny. Same thing in Denver, more or less. I attribute it to the very low humidity and altitude. Solid and liquid water simply evaporate and sublime much faster when air is drier and air pressure is lower. Population centers in Cali and east cost are more or less at sea level.
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:51 PM
 
Location: SLC, UT
1,571 posts, read 2,606,500 times
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I think people would start converting lawns into dryscape/xeroscape/sustainable gardens if there were more incentive to. I'm talking about some type of tax break. Like there was a tax break for people to put in new windows/make their home more energy efficient. If there was a make-your-garden-more-energy-efficient tax break, I think more and more people would take the government up on it. I have a sustainable garden in my front yard that requires very little water because I didn't want to take care of the lawn (and the previous homeowners had let the lawn get absolutely horrible). I also am starting to convert my back lawn into raised garden beds. I see more houses doing similar things on my street as well. But again, I think there needs to be a good reason for people to do it, beyond "you'll be saving water..." The initial costs of tearing out and replacing your lawn with xeroscape (or similar) can be high (not everyone can do the work themselves), so there needs to be an immediate incentive (which would be followed by the incentive of lower water costs throughout the year).

I do think that it's becoming more in vogue to be more self-reliant, though. I think more and more people are using rain barrels, having a veg garden, having a little compost pile, I think raising your own backyard chickens is starting to become more of a thing. Basically, I think if you give it some time, more and more people will start to be more conservation/self-reliant minded, and you'll see some improvements in the type of landscaping people do (and in their water conservation).
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:00 PM
 
Location: A Place With REAL People
3,074 posts, read 6,049,338 times
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Did you know it is ILLEGAL in the State of Utah to trap rain water? I found that to be virtually INSANE as if the State has the sky's water rights. But it is true.........
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:16 PM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,530 posts, read 6,265,810 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcisive View Post
Did you know it is ILLEGAL in the State of Utah to trap rain water? I found that to be virtually INSANE as if the State has the sky's water rights. But it is true.........
Amazing. Is the idea that runoff eventually flows into a larger body of water that somebody already has rights to? And hence you're depriving them of what is rightfully theirs?

Does SLC and environs have storm drains or just street gutters of some kind? Where does urban/suburban rain runoff go?
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:23 PM
 
Location: South Jordan, Utah
7,855 posts, read 8,302,360 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kletter1mann View Post
Is she may be talking about how FAST it gets dry after a snowfall? It's much, much faster than in the East where things stay wet and soggy for days after a snowfall even if it's warm enough to melt everything. My observation is that in SLC it's gone in a flash if it's sunny. Same thing in Denver, more or less. I attribute it to the very low humidity and altitude. Solid and liquid water simply evaporate and sublime much faster when air is drier and air pressure is lower. Population centers in Cali and east cost are more or less at sea level.

The snow has an average water density of 7 percent, compared to the 20 percent water density of the snow in other parts of the country.
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