City staff is recommending restrictions to preserve the municipal water supply and avoid future supply issues.

City staff recommend new annual water restrictions

New water restrictions will aim to curb overuse to avoid need for drastic measures

The city is looking at cracking down on water consumption during the summer, following overuse of the city’s water supply in July.

The new restrictions would mean that as of May 1 every year, even if no other water restrictions are in place, people may only water their lawns for a handful of hours, roughly 15 days per month.

Those rules would be dictated by a set of new water restrictions being recommended by city staff.

The new stage one would restrict even numbered addresses to watering their lawns and gardens on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, a departure from even numbered addresses watering on even numbered days, while odd numbered houses could only water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

Watering would be permitted between the hours of 5-9 a.m. and 7-10 p.m.

Currently, stage one allows watering between midnight and 7 a.m. and then again from 7 p.m. to midnight.

Jennifer Peters, the city’s utilities manager, said the change is in response to changing climates and an increasingly high demand for water.

“With climate change experts forecasting trends of hotter and drier summers for our area, the city must ensure adequate fire flows are in place,” Peters wrote in a report to council. “A three-staged approach would enable the city to manage the water demand more effectively and provide a more gradual method to water restriction. This approach will minimize the need for drastic water restrictions as was required this past summer.”

The city was forced to implement a stage three water restriction July 15 and 16 after four straight days of over consumption.

The city’s water supply capacity is 1,065 litres/second but 300 litres/second of that must be retained for fire fighting, which leaves 765 litres/second for domestic water use.

But this past July, residents were using more than their allotted amount, with a peak of 940.54 litres/second on July 14.

Peters said for the most part, residents took the stage three water ban seriously and consumption dropped by 13 per cent during the first day of the ban, with further drops of 17 per cent and 15 per cent the following days.

There were, however, 72 homes found out of compliance with the city’s stage one watering restrictions (odd numbered houses watering on odd numbered calendar days and even numbered homes on even days).

“All of these residences were sent a courtesy letter to remind them of the stage one watering restrictions,” Peters said. “Two of these residences continued to violate the bylaw and staff followed up in person to inform them of the stage one water restrictions.”

Peters said if council approves the recommended water restriction changes, which were up for debate at Tuesday’s council meeting after the Mirror went to press, a communication plan will be developed to educate the public on the changes.

Stage two, for example, would mean even numbered homes would only be allowed to water on Mondays while odd numbered homes would have their watering days on Thursdays.

Similar to stage one, watering would only be permitted between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Peters said the object of the three-stage approach is to help the city more effectively manage water demands during the peak usage period of summer.