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Officials call for reduced water use due to dry spell, hot temperatures

Region of Waterloo

The temperatures broke earlier in the week, but there was precious little rain following a prolonged heat wave and drought, so Waterloo Region’s water-conservation rules are in full effect just now.

As has been the case since 2005, summer brings a regional bylaw that limits outdoor water use by 10 per cent. Use is permitted only between 5:30-10 a.m. and 7-11 p.m., with lawn watering just once a week.

Steve Gombos, the region’s manager of water efficiency, says the rules are in place to help with the goal of a 10 per cent reduction while also dropping the peak demand.

“Because during the harder parts of the day – in the summer – the water evaporates more than it soaks into the ground so it’s a waste of water at that time. We generally want to make sure people don’t waste water outside and that’s why the water bylaw is in effect,” said Gombos. “If everybody waters their lawn on the same day, then our peak demand would be so high that our water supply system can’t regenerate fast enough so we then start depleting our water in storage and storage tanks – we have the reservoirs throughout the region that store water to supply in during higher demand times when we can’t keep up with it in our water system.”

The measures also ensure there’s enough water on hand for an emergency such as a large fire.

Lawn-watering is particularly restricted, running Monday to Friday, with allocation based on the last digit of you home address. Homes ending with the digits zero or one can water on Monday, two and three on Tuesday, four and five on Wednesday, six and seven on Thursday and eight and nine on Friday. Watering plants and other small patches of greenery can be done every other day and allows odd numbered houses to water on odd days and even numbered houses to water on even days.

The Grand River Conservation Authority is also looking for residents in the watershed to cut consumption by 10 per cent due to the dry spell. The low rainfall, coupled with the hot temperature, has contributed to reduced streams flows on a number of tributaries through the watershed, the agency reported last week in announcing the watershed is at level 1 under the Ontario Low Water Response Program.

In the region, fines will be imposed on people who do not adhere to the watering guidelines with fines starting at $150 for a first offence. Gombos says the region is proactive in their enforcement of the bylaw saying they have students and bylaw officers patrolling to ensure they are “less reactive to these matters and more proactive.”

More information can be found online.

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