Water Restrictions Kick-Off Canada Day

July 1, 2002
The Capital Regional District's on-again/off-again watering restrictions are back on Monday but convincing water-drunk residents to ease up could be tough.

Normally restrictions would have automatically begun a month ago, but water commissioners delayed implementation in order to help ease construction of the Sooke dam. Rather than spill water, they told residents to water freely during June to restore lawns and gardens damaged in last year's watering ban.

And water they have. The average daily water consumption this month has ballooned to 51.4 million gallons compared to the 10-year average for June of 44.1 million. This past week, the average was 51.4 million gallons, with a peak usage of 67.5 million gallons on Wednesday.

"It was very high water use. It's one of the highest, in fact, in recent years," CRD water chairman Nils Jensen said. "I think we've had one day higher in the last few years and that was in 1998 in July when we just went slightly over 70 million gallons."

Last year, during Stage 3 restrictions -- essentially a lawn watering ban -- Greater Victorians were usually under the June daily target of 37 million gallons.

The restrictions that come into effect on Canada Day limit lawn watering to two days a week during restricted morning and evening hours. Jensen hopes the bylaw will reverse the upward trend.

"I think what you get on a hot day is people running out in the middle of the day watering their lawns and their gardens which is, in fact, completely ineffectual because most of the water goes to evaporation. So Stage 1 will guide people in the common sense use of water."

He said it's somewhat disconcerting that so many people seem to have forgotten the lessons learned from the dry dog days of last summer. He even saw lawn sprinklers going full bore during Friday morning's rain. "We've all got to come to the realization our water supply is not an endless supply," he said. "We'll keep our fingers crossed that things go well in the next couple of months."

Contravention of the bylaw carries a minimum fine of $100.

Source: Victoria Times

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