Guelph-Eramosa updates outdoor water use bylaw

Guelph-Eramosa has aligned its outdoor water use bylaw with those used by Guelph and the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA).

At the Dec. 21 council meeting public works director Harry Niemi made a presentation to council on the bylaw.

“We last reviewed the outdoor water use in 2007 and since that time there’s been some publications regarding the Ontario Low Water Response … done in 2010, which was a multi-ministry approach looking at water use and these prescribed local area teams which review stream flow and precipitation threat levels in terms of water supply which then are applied which impact the water use in the municipality,” Niemi explained.

The outdoor water use bylaw was originally reviewed because there were restrictions identified during the master planning process for the Rockmosa Park expansion that would hinder the township in developing and maintaining irrigated Sports fields.

“So the bottom line is here we’re doing a bit of house keeping, checking to make sure the hours make sense and then looking at water use restriction or whatever it is, the coding system at a more regional level,” said Mayor Chris White.

Now if Guelph is at a level one, Guelph-Eramosa will be too, and vice versa. The township is part of the Grand River Water Response Team responsible for the Grand River watershed and consisting of local water users and local and provincial water managers that coordinate local activities, Niemi’s report states.

“So the colours might not be exactly the same as Guelph but a level one in Guelph is a level one here,” council Mark Bouwmeester said.

There are three levels of water activity outlined in the new bylaw.

Level one: Careful use actions ask the user to voluntarily choose to only water their lawn during specific hours on allotted days and conduct all other uses during permitted hours on allotted days.

Level two: Limited use actions tell the user they can only water their lawn on specific days at specific times; water newly planted sod or seed as prescribed by the permit; water trees, shrubs, flowers or gardens with a hand watering device only; use recreational sprinklers and splash pads for children and irrigate Sports fields. Level two prohibits users from washing their cars in a residential setting.

Level three: Reduce and stop actions tell the user they are not permitted to water their lawn; they are only allowed to water newly planted sod or seed as prescribed by the permit; can only water trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens with a hand watering device at specific times on specific days; cannot use recreational sprinklers or splash pads; cannot irrigate Sports fields; and cannot wash cars in a residential setting.