In case you haven't noticed, we haven't had a serious rain in a while, this afternoon's thunderstorm notwithstanding. But by my reckoning it rained a mere 20 minutes or so, which is not nearly enough considering its been weeks without a significant rainfall. On cue, the city has sent out the following warning. You see, no rain means less water - for everything. So to the idiots who live up the road from me who water their lawns and then brazenly leave their sprinklers out as if daring anyone to call on their selfish desire for green grass, you've been warned.
GUELPH, ON, July 13, 2012 — Guelph residents and businesses are asked to further reduce non-essential water use beyond Level 1- Yellow restrictions due to continued local drought conditions.
The City’s Outside Water Use Program (OWUP) remains at Level 1- Yellow. However, with decreasing Eramosa River levels, low local groundwater levels, high temperatures and prolonged, drought-like conditions, the OWUP level is approaching Level 2 – Red if watershed conditions do not improve.
“With little or no precipitation and continued high temperatures forecasted for the Guelph area, the Outside Water Use Program is at risk of changing to Level 2 – Red,” said Wayne Galliher, Water Conservation Project Manager with Guelph Water Services. “Although we remain in Level 1 – Yellow, we are asking residents to voluntarily further reduce non-essential water use in an effort to protect our local water supply and environment.”
Guelph is one of the largest communities in Canada to rely solely on groundwater for its drinking water needs. Groundwater is unique as it is finite in volume and can be vulnerable to drought conditions and overuse.
In the event of a move to OWUP Level 2 – Red, non-essential water use such as lawn watering would be restricted in the absence of a permit. All time shift permits would be suspended. New lawn and treated lawn permits would remain active and continue to be issued. Should conditions persist, all lawn watering permits could be suspended. In addition, alternate day and time watering restrictions would be in effect for trees, shrubs, flowers and ornamental gardens, as well as vehicle washing (hose must be equipped with a shut-off nozzle). Homeowners with odd-numbered addresses would water plants and wash their cars on odd-numbered days and those with even-numbered addresses on even-numbered days — between 7 - 9 a.m. and 7 - 9 p.m.
Increased enforcement activities under the City’s Outside Water Use Bylaw are implemented accordingly as part of Level 1- Yellow and Level 2 – Red of the OWUP. Failure to comply with the City’s Outside Water Use bylaw may result in a set fine of $130 or a summons to appear in Court and, upon conviction, a maximum fine of $5,000.
At this time, Guelph residents and businesses must restrict their non-essential water use by 10 per cent to adhere to current Level 1 – Yellow OWUP guidelines.
The City of Guelph and GRCA continue to monitor and evaluate watershed conditions in accordance with the Ontario Low Water Response Plan.
For further information about Guelph’s Outside Water Use Program, please visit guelph.ca/water or call 519-822-1260 x 2153.