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First waterwise award presented to Lehi family



Megan Wallgren | Lehi Free Press

One group is encouraging residents to beautify Lehi without wasting water. Lehi’s Environmental Sustainability Committee is awarding residents for beautiful, waterwise landscaping.

August’s winning yard belongs to the Jeff Chang family and their Traverse Mountain area home.

The Environmental Sustainability Committee is a Lehi City volunteer group focused on providing information and education to residents regarding important environmental issues including recycling, air quality, water efficiency, energy usage, and transportation.

They started the Waterwise Yard Awards program this year to encourage people to reduce the use of water in their yards. Winning landscapes will be chosen each year from May through October. Winners receive a $50 gift card to Lowe’s and are presented with the award by the city council. 

One motivation they give for waterwise landscaping is Lehi’s move to meters on irrigation water that ends a flat-water rate. “Not only is the price of water going up, but we should consider the climate in what we plant,” said committee member Christina Nielson. “Lehi City averages roughly 12 inches of precipitation a year. Currently, irrigating traditional landscapes of mostly turf grass uses approximately 50% of Lehi City’s water consumption. By using water-wise landscaping, water use can be significantly reduced,” she said. 

The committee encourages people to use less grass in their landscaping. “We don’t use the turf in our yards,” she said. “We use the turf in our back yards, but not the front. You can replace some of the turf in your front yards with pathways, rockscape, those kinds of things.” 


Residents are also encouraged to “flip the strip,” taking out grass along the parking strip and replacing it with waterwise options.

Nielson said one of the biggest misconceptions about waterwise landscaping is that is dull and brown. “Water wise landscaping isn’t all rocks and bark. In fact, they are often lush landscapes that include flowers, grasses, trees, shrubbery – and yes, lawns! A water wise yard has a balance of plants, lawn, and other landscape materials,” said Nielsen. “You can have beautiful low water landscape. You’re planting flowers. It’s beautiful and it’s using a lot of plants that are drought resistant and plants that thrive in Utah.”

Many resources for waterwise landscaping can be found on the city’s website at

The seven-member Environmental Sustainability Committee has been around for five years. The volunteer members are appointed by the mayor. The issues they address include recycling, air quality, water efficiency, energy usage, and transportation.

To nominate a waterwise Lehi landscape, send a picture and the home address to Todd Munger at

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