About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

City's Thinking About Changes to Outside Water Use Restrictions

Apparently, some of us don't like the restictions placed on outside water use, even if we just came off one of the driest summers on record. At least that's the jist I got from this city press release yesterday announcing staff's intent to illicit public opnion on proposed changed to Guelph's outside water use program and by-law enforcement
Now I don't necessarily think that this is a bad idea. It's always good to re-examine programs and regulations to see if they still meet the standards and requirements of the community they serve. I'd hate to think though that this feedback being solicited is going to be from people who think they should be able to water their perfect front lawns more, or that they should be entitled to wash their cars more often, because there are plenty of those who think they're entitled to break those rules right now as they stand.
Now having said that, the press release points out that over the last several years there have been great strides made in conserving and getting people to re-think their water use, efforts that have yielded solid results to keep Guelph's water use sustainable even as we've grown. But in spite of that, not everyone's been a team player on the whole "watching our water use" idea of enhanced civic responsibility on this issue, which is meant to protect a vital natural resource to the advantage of us all. Just because the more stringent policies of the past have created a situation have prevented the worst case scenario, it doesn't mean that we should let our guard down and not stay the course. At least one hopes that this is the point of view that the people of Guelph might confirm.
Find the full press release below.

GUELPH, ON, December 14, 2012 – In the new year, residents and businesses will have an opportunity to provide input when the City reviews its Outside Water Use By-law and program.
An information report, going to Council on Monday, outlines the reasons behind the review including feedback received from the public this past summer.
“During last summer’s drought, many community stakeholders expressed concern over the current by-law restrictions under the Outside Water Use Program (OWUP), as well as the relevance of some permitted watering activities in reference to current social norms and practices,” says Wayne Galliher, the City’s water conservation project manager.
Galliher also points out, “A review and update of the by-law and program allows us to consult with community members and stakeholders regarding the City’s response to future drought conditions. By doing so, we can ensure the program continues to protect Guelph’s precious groundwater resources.”
Since the program and by-law’s implementation in 2003, daily annual peak day demands have decreased by more than 11.8 million litres per day extending sustainability of local groundwater resources, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, and deferring construction and operating investments of new water infrastructure to satisfy peak seasonal water use demands, only experienced a few days per year.
The by-law review is expected to be done by next spring with recommendations for amendments being provided for Council’s consideration and deliberation at that time. The City will also be initiating an update of Guelph’s Water Supply Master Plan (WSMP) in 2013 with changes to the OWUP and bylaw feeding directly into the update.
To view the information report, click here.
About the Outside Water Use Program The City’s Outside Water Use Program (OWUP) is one of the most successful and recognized water conservation programs in Ontario. The program aims to conserve Guelph’s groundwater supply and protect against the impact of drought during the summer months.
The OWUP has three levels that affect outside water use: Level 0 Blue—careful use; Level 1 Yellow—reduce outside use; and Level 2 Red—reduce and stop non-essential use. These levels are triggered by dry weather and local watershed conditions in accordance the Province of Ontario’s Low Water Response Plan.
The OWUP is supported by the Outside Water Use By-law which applies to all outdoor water use within the City, specifically to any person using water and the owner of any property where water is used, unless the water being used is not supplied by the municipal water supply.

1 comment:

Craig Chamberlain said...

Adam, I agree that it's good to take a look at policies and ask if they're still working, or if there are better ways to achieve what we're wanting to do. Increasing the rates on what people use will probably always be the most efficient means of achieving conservation.

All the best this season, and thank you for your blogging.