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Cranbrook adopts new water management bylaw

Cranbrook city council has adopted its revised water management bylaw.

The plan would allow the city to regulate water use depending on levels at the Phillips Reservoir.

“Whatever we need to do with the water restrictions, we can do year-round, rather than just in the summer if we were looking at cutting back on the watering,” said Mayor Lee Pratt. “The second part of that is putting it under the municipal ticketing system so now if there’s a repeat offender, they can be fined.”

Pratt said the changes have been brought forward by the weather experienced by the community in recent years.

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“If we get a really hot spell, and the water table is going down, we don’t have the run-off like we used to have. We’re just being a little proactive,” said Pratt.

The update comes after city officials say the original water management bylaw, brought forward in 2006, no longer meets the needs of the community.

“Cranbrook’s water usage of 645 litres per person per day (2019) is above the national average of 411 litres per person per day (2019). We have also seen several days over the past 2 years where the daily water consumption was equivalent to a population of 45,000 residents. That is over double our current population of just over 21,000,” said Jason Perrault, Public Works Utilities Manager.

“Last year’s drought saw the Province issue a Stage 3 level drought for the entire Kootenay region. This had caused the City to review current water management practices. We feel that this bylaw will move the City’s water management to a more sustainable level that includes industry best practices.”

Stage one will be in effect all year unless otherwise stated, but the subsequent stages will be enacted when the reservoir drops below 80 per cent, 75 per cent and 70 per cent capacity.

Any outdoor water use that does not follow regulations may be fined.

City officials said they will spend the next few months educating the public about the updated water regulation bylaw

You can find a brief description of each of the four stages below.

  • Stage one – year-round unless otherwise stated:
    • Even numbered properties can water on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.
    • Odd numbered properties may water on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.
    • Outdoor water use is limited to 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
  • Stage two – in effect when reservoir drops below 80 per cent capacity:
    • Watering days will be reduced from three to two days per week.
    • The city will reduce the watering of parks, green spaces and playing feilds.
  • Stage three – in effect when reservoir drops below 75 per cent:
    • Only one watering day per week using spring-loaded hose nozzles or automatic irrigation systems.
    • Watering food crops such as vegetables, berries and herbs is allowed.
    • watering permits for new laws will be cancelled.
    • City’s watering will be further reduced.
  • Stage four – in effect when reservoir drops below 70 per cent:
    • No watering of lawns, gardens, trees, shrubs.
    • No filling of commercial or residential pools, hot tubs, fountains, pods or other water features.

More: Outdoor Water Use and Regulation Bylaw No. 4091

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