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Mayor’s Message

How Is Our Current Water Situation?

I’m frequently asked about our current water situation. The short answer is that we have had another great water year. Snowpack is 120% of median, local reservoirs are near full capacity, and our per capita water use has decreased significantly.

This year’s snowpack is welcomed, even celebrated, primarily because Washington County has been in some form of drought 80% of the time over the last 22 years. We rely heavily on reservoir storage to sustain our community, living off these reserves during our long, dry summers. Recent data shows Sand Hollow at 98% of capacity, with Quail Creek at 79%, Kolob at 92%, and Gunlock at 100%. Collectively, these reservoirs hold nearly 100,000 acre-feet of water. In 2022, approximately 55,000 acre-feet of water was supplied throughout the county. Despite this seemingly abundant supply, with reservoirs near peak levels, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of conservation. Each water year presents unique challenges and demands prudent management of our resources.

One of my most important duties is serving on the Board of Trustees of the Washington County Water Conservancy District. There we have established an ambitious 20 Year Water Supply Plan to meet current and future needs. This plan focuses on enhancing water source, storage, treatment, and distribution capacity throughout the county. The plan includes additional conservation, expanding our reuse system, optimizing our groundwater supplies and converting available agricultural water. Some key reservoir projects currently in the pipeline include:

  • Chief Toquer: A reservoir with a capacity of approximately 4,700 acre-feet currently under construction in Toquerville.
  • Dry Wash: A reservoir with a capacity of around 1,500 acre-feet planned in Ivins.
  • Graveyard Wash: A reservoir with a capacity of about 2,000 acre-feet planned near St George/Santa Clara.
  • Cove: A reservoir with a capacity of approximately 6,000 acre-feet slated for construction in Kane County, with downstream flows benefiting Washington County.

These reservoirs represent significant steps toward bolstering our water storage infrastructure and ensuring resilience in the face of fluctuating conditions. Washington City continues to lead out across the county and state in both water policy and practice.

Because of the city’s Landscape Conservation Ordinance, residents remain eligible for rebates of $2 per square foot for grass replaced with water-efficient landscaping. In just over a year, Washington City property owners have replaced more than 260,000 square feet of grass saving our community an estimated 6.5 million gallons annually. That’s a lot of water! Visit for details. I urge everyone to be informed about and committed to responsible water use for our climate. For those with grass, you can contribute by not watering too heavily or too early in the season, and by not watering too frequently during the hot summer season.

Washington is the only city in Utah to have 100% residential Smart/AMI Meters installed. This puts you in charge of your own usage. I urge you to take a few minutes to download the My Water Advisor app by visiting You can track and monitor your individual usage with near real-time results, and determine how you can improve. Be sure to turn on the feature that will text or email you leak alerts as this feature can save thousands of gallons of water and eliminate excess water fees.

We all play an essential role in our community’s future and nothing is of greater value than having a safe and reliable water supply.  Let’s remember, we live in a desert, we need to act like it.

-Kress Staheli


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