When the heat subsides, it’s tempting to take out a watering can to save your lawn and garden, but falling water levels in lakes and rivers are prompting many municipalities to limit watering hours to preserve water supply.
Water management and supply have become important elements in the face of climate change and urban sprawl. A sign of the importance of this issue is that in June the CAQ government introduced a bill aimed at increasing water fees, although opposition parties have long asked for it.
Cities in southern Quebec no longer have enough drinking water for residents. Such is the case in Saint-Lin-Laurentide, where a booming real estate market portends difficult days for its residents. A small municipality recently issued a decree completely banning households using the municipal network from watering lawns, washing cars and boats and filling the pool until further notice. The media even reported that citizens ran out of water at the end of the day.
Residential buildings that have wells are not immune to water shortages because the water table is also decreasing. Well diggers are overloaded as demand is high. Surface wells are no longer enough. You must go deeper and deeper into the ground to find sources of supply.
In Sutton, in the Eastern Townships, construction has been banned until further notice in the mining sector so as not to increase water demand that exceeds supply capacity. In the past year, Quebec stocks have also declined. To limit the risks, at the end of the summer of 2021, any watering and washing with drinking water was prohibited.
Know first, then act
You should be aware that there are no uniform rules from one city to another or from one municipality to another regarding watering or cleaning outdoors.
The best thing to do to avoid a fine is to check your local outdoor watering website or check the local press. In Quebec, we learn that lawn watering is allowed, but only one day a week, in the evening, “with admission on the second day in 2022 according to a certain schedule.” In metropolitan France, watering is allowed for short periods of time and only on certain days, for example, from 3 to 6 am (automatic system) and from 20 to 23 hours (removable sprinkler).
In the capital, new lawns or newly treated lawns enjoy the corresponding exemption of 21 and 10 days. Montreal, for its part, allows 15 days of watering after laying or seeding surfaces.
In Sherbrooke, only one irrigation is allowed after the update of the water use rules. “At the moment there are no plans to change the rules due to the heat wave, but we could request a limit on the level of water use if it was deemed necessary,” explains Olivia Letendre-Dutil from the city’s communications department. The metropolis can also act if necessary, the spokesman said in an email.
Beware of the naughty: a neighbor can report you to the authorities! In Montreal, for example, information patrols have been organized that will traverse the streets of the metropolis in the coming weeks and distribute pamphlets to inform citizens.
Outdoor and pool cleaning
It is also strictly forbidden in Montreal to wash paved surfaces, terraces and exterior walls with a garden hose, except from April 1 to May 15. Sherbrooke, for its part, allows laundry if you use a bucket or a system equipped with an automatic close.
In Quebec, only general cleaning is allowed from May 1 to June 15. The filling of the pools is allowed there any time after June 15, although the initial filling is recommended to be done at night. In Montreal, a pool owner cannot refill it in the afternoon after May 15 unless it is reinstalled. Keep proof of purchase, because if you live in Sherbrooke, they may be required for new landscaping.
Flowers and gardens
In general, let’s assume that watering flowers and gardens is less regulated than watering lawns. It should be said that the areas to be maintained are smaller than the areas of lawns. We recommend using a hose with a nozzle that can be closed to avoid unnecessary flow or to reuse rainwater for flowers, vegetables and herbs.
Use rain water
We hear more and more about using rainwater to water plants or gardens. Hydro-Québec is presenting this opportunity as one of its “Ten Actions for a Sustainable Summer”. All you need is a large bathtub or a cauldron that you put in the yard; water just accumulates there when it rains. Rainwater can be used to wash a car, bike, driveway or parking lot after it has been swept away.
hot and humid summer
The situation may remain tense in the medium term. Indeed, according to Eau Secours, the blue gold conservation organization, the world’s water resources will only be enough to meet 60% of our needs in 2030. Closer to home, drinking water management could also become a challenge as MétéoMédia experts predict a hot and humid summer in 2022.
Tips for drinking less water
• Leave the cut grass in place when mowing the lawn.
• Avoid watering on sunny days as the water will evaporate.
• Plant some clover in your lawn: it uses less water.
• Spread the compost in the spring.
• Try to discover the beauty of an imperfect lawn…
>> Read also: Ecological gardening: how to collect rainwater and How to create an ecological garden?