At its open meeting on July 27, Clinton council gave first three readings to Outdoor Water Use Bylaw No. 544, 2016. The bylaw, which has taken several months to develop, incorporates much of what has long been contained in policy, and will give council and staff the power to enforce water regulations.
“We’ve been practicing this for years,” says Clinton chief administrative officer Tom Dall. “We’ve always had watering stages as part of our policy, but there’s never been anything in writing. This helps make for better awareness.”
The water bylaw comes in the wake of the opening of Clinton’s new membrane filtration water treatment plant, which was completed in early 2015. Dall says the system has been great and there have been no complaints.
Councillor Susan Swan, who is part of the water and sewer working group that developed the bylaw, says that Clinton has always had stage one watering from June 1 to September 15 with few problems, but that the bylaw will give the village some “enforcement teeth”. “We know of abuses to outdoor watering, but have had no way of dealing with it. [The bylaw] also means we can go to stages 2, 3, and 4 if we have to.”
During stage one watering, even-numbered properties can irrigate on even days of the week, and odd-numbered properties on odd days. Watering is prohibited between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. A hose can be used for hand watering flower or vegetable gardens, or for washing boats and vehicles, as long as it is equipped with an automatic shut-off device. Restrictions increase through stages two to four, which can be invoked if conditions warrant it.
“Research shows that communities should have a water bylaw in place,” says Dall. “Up to now it’s been ‘Please do’. And it helps create better awareness.” He notes that although the bylaw has been discussed at council meetings several times, no one has voiced concern about it.
“Watering times have been out there for so long that the whole bylaw is nothing new. People have been very good here, and there’ve been no complaints.”
Swan agrees. “I don’t foresee any bumps. We go on water restrictions every year.” She adds that there is a provision to request a permit to enable watering outside the established hours, but says the permit is not issued for frivolous reasons.
“If someone has put in a new lawn, or has new trees planted, they can apply for a permit.”
The Outdoor Water Use Bylaw will be up for final reading and adoption at the Clinton open council meeting on August 10.