Residents wanting to water their lawns or wash their vehicles should be aware the town’s bylaw regulating non-essential water use is now in effect until Sept. 15.
Starting yesterday, odd-numbered addresses can only water on odd days and even-numbered addresses on even days (even-numbered houses are exempt on months with 31 days).
“It’s got nothing to do with water supply, it’s got to do with the amount of water the [treatment] plant can handle in one day,” said Bruce Spottiswood, superintendent of works facilities.
“It’s definitely a help at the water treatment plant when people follow the guidelines,” he added.
Spottiswood stressed the importance of the bylaw with an example from a time before it was passed.
“The Ministry of the Environment has a guideline that a lot of people think is nuts, but it’s true,” he noted. “It says that every man, woman, and child [should use] 100 gallons of water a day.
“In the winter, the plant produces about 900,000-one million gallons a day. In the summer, that goes up to 3.4 million gallons to meet the demand, because people are using up to 200 gallons a day.
“But back in 1989, there was a crisis, where we found every man, woman, and child was using 400 gallons of water a day. It was strictly abuse,” Spottiswood said.
Those who fail to comply with the bylaw can be charged and face a fine up to $300.
In addition, offenders may have their water discontinued and will have to pay $60 to have it turned back on.
“I’m not in bylaw enforcement, but to my knowledge, we’ve never had to fine anyone,” noted Spottiswood. “But we still have to watch.”
Non-essential water use includes the watering of lawns and gardens, filling of swimming pools, washing of vehicles (other than commercially-operated car washes), and any other use which is not essential to public health and safety, personal hygiene, or to sustain a commercial activity at the municipal address where the water is used.
A person can make an application in writing to the bylaw enforcement department for an exemption from the provisions, such as for watering newly-seeded lawns.
In turn, the bylaw deportment may, at its discretion and having consider the merits of the circumstances surrounding the request, give in writing an exemption from the provisions.