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West Valley City Journal

West Valley’s water conservation efforts now include artificial turf

May 02, 2022 09:26PM ● By Travis Barton

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

After the drought-laden 2021, agencies, municipalities and the state legislature have looked at ways to conserve water.

For West Valley City, officials hope changes to an existing ordinance will help.

The City Council unanimously approved changes to its landscaping code in April including creating standards for artificial turf.

Previously the code allowed turf, but had no installation standards. Now the new ordinance addresses color, appearance, minimum height and weight, warranty, borders, how it’s installed and maintenance of artificial turf.

City Hall recently installed turf of varying lengths and sizes on its property to test run the artificial turf with the council generally in favor of the new look. The life span of the turf is expected to be eight years according to the ordinance.

The other significant change in the code is minimum of “live plant material” required in the front yard of a house. The amount required used to depend on the driveway size, now just 30% of the front yard must be live plant material. Turf now counts as live plant material under the reformed ordinance.

“It evens the playing field,” Steve Pastorik, community and economic development director, said of the simplified percentages.

Other changes in the ordinance includes turf as a suitable substitute for grass along major streets and the type of irrigation controller required for commercial projects. Basically a smart controller will be required where Wi-Fi is enabled and can be adjusted depending on conditions and weather.

These changes, Pastorik said, bring them in line with Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District standards.

The council also passed a resolution in April affirming its historical success, current plan and future efforts with water conservation.

The resolution points out the city uses 12% less water overall compared to other users in the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District and adopted early on metering and smart watering practices at city owned properties to go along with rules, regulations and ordinances for residents and businesses to follow.

City officials said they’ve pursued strategic conservation solutions since 2014. The resolution “emphasizes our standards are in line with Jordan Valley recommendations,” Pastorik said, and “shows our support for water conservation” having worked closely with water purveyors.