Water Shortage Response Plan

AdobeStock_261583623 - Water DropletSaratoga Springs Operates separate drinking water and pressurized irrigation systems. Water shortages may occur in either system as water sources or infrastructure are temporarily or permanently disrupted due to natural events, wear and tear or damage.  

The purpose of the Water Shortage Response Plan is to identify actions that can be taken to help immediately reduce water demand and to communicate those actions to residents and staff as the community adapts to a water shortage. The recommendations in this plan are intended to help ensure the reductions in the community's water demand are proportional to the shortage. 

Irrigation Water Allotment For The 2023 Irrigation Season

Water allotments are back to normal for the 2023 irrigation season. 

Allotment Reduction

Irrigation water allotments will be reduced 20% beginning July 25, 2022 due to extreme drought and loss of some irrigation water sources.

Water Conservation

The state of Utah is in an extreme drought. Residents need to reduce irrigation water use by 20% to match their allotment. Residents that reduce water use by 20% to stay within their allotment may see a reduction in their water bill. Residents that don't reduce will potentially see an increase as they enter higher tiers of water usage.  

  • Culinary water levels are adequate to meet resident needs, but are not to be used to supplement irrigation water usage.
  • Residents are discouraged from installing and establishing new landscapes until late September when temperatures usually begin to cool off.

Conservation in City Facilities

Through the month of July the Parks Department gradually reduced water use in all non-high use areas by 40%, while maintaining a normal watering schedule for areas used for recreation programing. It is important to maintain turf used for programming for the safety of participants and to maintain the health of the turf through damage sustained due to high use. To see more on what the city is doing to conserve water go to the Water Conservation page.

Irrigation Calculator 

The irrigation calculator has a calculator for the full allotment and the 20% reduced allotment.  This can assist residents in adjusting their usage to the new allotment size.  Click the following link to access the irrigation calculator.  Residents can also see their original allotment amount and the 20% reduced amount on the  My Water Use customer Portal.

My Water Use Customer Portal

Residents are encouraged to create an account on the My Water Use Customer Portal.  The portal will reflect the original allotment and the 20% reduced allotment. The portal gives access to hourly and historical use for both the culinary and pressurized irrigation systems. Residents are also able to set up alerts for an increase in water use in both systems to catch leaks and other issues sooner. Click the link for instructions on how to set up an account or to access the My Water Use Customer Portal.

  • The portal will reflect the original allotment and the 20% reduced allotment.  Residents are encouraged to use the irrigation calculator to calculate what their water use should be with the new allotment reduction. Residents can also multiply their current allotment by .8 to determine the new allotment size.
  • Beginning August 15, 2022 residents must have an active account on the My Water Use Customer Portal to qualify for the Water Forgiveness Program.  Click the link for more information on the Water Forgiveness Program.


Residents can use the the table below with the size of their reduced allotment to calculate what the cost of water could be based on their usage. 

20% Reduction Usage Rates

Percentage Rate Cost Gallons
up to 60% of allotment $0.35 per 1,000 gallons
61% to 80% of allotment $1.00 per 1,000 gallons
81% to 120% of allotment $2.40  per 1,000 gallons
121% to 160% of allotment $3.25 per 1,000 gallons
161% to 200% of allotment $4.00 per 1,000 gallons
above 201% of allotment $8.00 per 1,000 gallons

Water Shortage Response Plan

Many actions may be taken when responding to a water shortage. The severity and duration of the water shortage issue will be assessed along with  following guiding principles when forming a Water Reduction Plan.

Guiding Principles

  1. Priority of drinking water over pressurized irrigation. Because of its importance in indoor use, public health, and firefighting, drinking water will always take precedence over irrigation. The drinking water system has multiple layers of redundancy for these reasons. The pressurized irrigation system has fewer redundancies and its use may be more readily curtailed without significant impacts to the public.
  2. Immediate demand reduction. When a water shortage is in effect, the main objective is to reduce water demand to a level that the water system can sustain until the shortage is resolved. This plan focuses on responses that result in immediate reduction of water demand. Concerns such as long-term water conservation strategies, restoration of lost water supplies, or development of new water facilities should be addressed in other plans.
  3. Reduction based on facts. Rather than request a general reduction because there is some overarching issue like low snowpack, water demand reduction objectives should be specific and proportional to the shortage (or anticipated shortage) of the water supply in question.
  4. Equitable citywide response. Even though a particular water shortage (e.g., loss of a canal source) may physically impact only certain customers or portion of the City, the response will be citywide in order to enable the execution of this plan across applicable City departments, consistent messaging to the public, and equitable adjustments (if any) in water rates.
  5. Preservation of trees and shrubs. The investment of cost, effort, and time required to grow and maintain trees and shrubs is significant. During a water shortage, efforts should be made to preserve trees and shrubs, which may require hand watering.
  6. De-prioritization of turfgrass irrigation. Turfgrass requires considerable water but is largely ornamental and quite resilient. During an irrigation water shortage condition, turfgrass should be the first target for reductions utilizing methods that will preserve the turfgrass with minimal irrigation so that it can recover the following season.
  7. Maintenance of turfgrass in high-use recreation areas. Public and private parks and other public open spaces such as those owned and managed by HOA’s, churches, and schools are important community assets. While the turfgrass in non-high-use areas should be allowed to go dormant (but not dead) through a reduction in irrigation in response to water demand reductions or policy changes, some turfgrass should be maintained and preserved in an active condition for recreation purposes.
  8. Partnership preferred. Communication, policy, rates, and other tools will be used first to elicit voluntary reductions in water demand from the community. Enforcement by fine or legal action is a last resort.

Response Levels

Color-coded levels are an effective way to categorize water shortage conditions and communicate responses to staff and the public. The response levels in Tables 1 and 2 for the pressurized irrigation and drinking water systems are based on 2022 demands and capacities in fully functional existing water sources and purchase contracts. Unlike many Utah water systems, Saratoga Springs does not depend directly on snowpack and surface water, so typical water supply indicators are not as relevant as in other communities. Unlike most Utah cities, Saratoga Springs has an advantage with 100% of the irrigation water use metered and charged based on use.

Pressurized Irrigation Response Levels Chart

Drinking Water Response Levels Chart

Water Shortage Response Plan Downloadable PDF