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Know your day! Water Conservation By-law helps manage water this summer3 min read

Jun 1, 2023 2 min

Know your day! Water Conservation By-law helps manage water this summer3 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Are you ready, gardeners and backyard landscapers? Every year, the Region of Waterloo’s Water Conservation By-law helps our community avoid high peak demands that can strain our water supply.

The Water Conservation By-law is in effect from May 31 to September 30. Each property has one day per week when people can water their lawn, based on the address number.  

Other outdoor watering activities are permitted every second day: things like watering gardens, trees, and other outdoor plants, washing vehicles, and topping up of permanent residential pools.

No matter what kind of outdoor use, you can only do so between 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. That’s when less is evaporated by the hot sun.

By the way, the Water Conservation By-law applies to sprinklers and hoses. There are no restrictions on using a bucket or watering can! You can also use water for a kids’ wading pool or other water toys anytime.

Find your watering day and time here.  Thank you for helping manage our community’s water resources during the hot, dry summer months

Why did the Region create this by-law in 2006?

It started when several of our water supply wells needed to be shut down for important upgrades. Faced with the temporary loss of five per cent of the community’s drinking water supply, the Region had to act swiftly to ensure there would be enough water for the days and weeks ahead.

In the world of water, “baseline” demand means the amount of water used in the region on a cold winter day. We also need to look at “peak” demand, which shows how high water use can go on a hot summer day. Before the new by-law was created in 2006, Waterloo Region’s peak demands could go as much as 50 per cent above the baseline as people used more water in the summer. Our water system had to be able to accommodate those big days.

The by-law spreads out unnecessary outdoor watering throughout the week instead of risking having everyone water at the same time. It helps us make sure we always have enough for emergencies like fighting fires.

Since the bylaw came into effect, our peak demands have stayed at only 25 to 30 per cent above the baseline. This strategy has worked wonders for protecting our short-term water supply and helped educate the community about proper water use.

The Region of Waterloo was the first municipality in Canada to implement this type of water-once-per-week bylaw. This is now considered the gold standard for outdoor water use planning.

Water use going up? Join our free webinar to learn the top five ways to save this summer

Interested to make saving water part one of your summer projects? For many people, water bills can go up significantly in the summertime. Find out why and learn tips to lower your water bill this summer. Join us for a conversation around gardening, lawns, rain barrels and other topics that will help to achieve immediate and long-term water savings.

Sign up here to join our free webinar “Top five ways to save on watering costs this summer.” It’s happening Tuesday, June 13 at 7 p.m., presented by the conservation experts at Reep Green Solutions.