At the stroke of midnight on March 8, the 2018 Utah State Legislative General Session came to a close after a whirlwind dash through a record 1,364 bills. For 45 days, our legislators pored over the proposals, tweaked some, sent others back for discussion and, in the end, sent several on to our governor for final approval.
It’s safe to say, given a last-minute rush through the state’s Senate and House of Representatives, that you probably won’t face a misdemeanor charge for holding a raccoon.
And there are a couple that are of special interest to us here at the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, one that passed and the other earmarked for additional study. Onto our tale of two bills:
• HB303 changes the gallons of water per resident requirements for water sources. In the past, the rule required a minimum of 800 gallons per day per residential connection. Now, rather than one-size-fits-all (no pun intended), HB303 calls for each water agency to maintain a source water size determined upon three years of historic data or via an engineering study with anticipated needs. Instead of the standard 800 gallons per resident, each water agency will have a customized requirement. The bill was passed during the general session.
• Under further study is SB204, a bill that basically says if you have secondary, non-drinking water for your outside use, you need to have a meter on it. Right now, most secondary systems charge a small amount, some as little as $20 an irrigation season, and residents can use as much water as they want. Metering their use is the first step toward increased accountability and conservation. While we agreed with SB204, there are a few things that still need a little work, and it did not make its way out of the Senate. The meters are quite costly and there is a question of whether the utility or the residents will pay for them, and who will maintain them. Senator Jacob L. Anderegg, who sponsored the bill with Rep. Michael E. Noel, has agreed to let it go to interim study. It’s a good bill that just needs to be flushed out a little. (We couldn’t resist!)
Stay tuned as we monitor these and other pending legislation and keep you informed on what effect, if any, it will have on your water services. As spring arrives, remember to conserve water as you begin irrigating your lawn. On average, about 68 percent of Utahns’ household water usage occurs outdoors, leaving plenty of room for improvement.