Water, not to be taken for granted!

>> Wednesday, June 6, 2007

This past week the garden has not received much attention due to high heat (temps in the 90's), although I have done a lot of much needed weeding early in the day and I have had to water every day. Also, yesterday we got hit with high winds, up to 50 mph at times! This can be a curse because winds dry out the soil as well. Last night it rained and the rain is continuing through today.

I'm very thankful for the rain. We don't ever get enough of it here in Utah. We are constantly reminded of how this is a desert environment and because of this we can only water between 6pm and 10am. We are faced with fines otherwise. And there is always hanging over our head the fact that we may not have enough water to last through the entire season. In 2004, the canals ran dry in mid-September! I should mention that we get our irrigation water from a canal system that fills from a very large lake south of us, Utah Lake. That lake is mostly filled from the snow melt from the surrounding mountain tops. Sometimes we don't get enough snow to fill that lake. This year is one of those years.

The irrigation canal water from Utah Lake is not filtered, unless we as homeowners are willing to filter it when it reaches our homes. And the filters I'm talking about only filter out weed seeds and it does not have anything to do with making the water safe to drink. The lake collects the runoff from the hundreads of thousands of homeowners who live around the lake. The runoff is loaded with whatever fertilizer and chemicals they deem necessary to put onto their lawns.

The financial cost of this water is less than the treated water we take into our homes, called culinary water. Some people opt to use only this water on their lawns and gardens, even at the higher expense. We are still charged for the irrigation water wether we use it or not. What a deal for the city, right?

There are plans being hashed out to improve the current water treatment plant to provide us with at least some filtration of this irrigation water, but that won't come about for several years. At that time most of the unfiltered water will be directed to highway landscaping and not so much to residential use.

The rain water is cleaner than what we get from Utah Lake, although everyone knows that air pollution does sully this water as well, but at least it doesn't have weed seeds that need to be filtered out! It always bothers me somewhat when I hear the weather person say things like "Gee, hopefully this rain will stop soon." It tells me that this person cannot possibly be a gardener.

So, I welcome the rain and wish there was some way we could get a lot more of it.


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