Water restriction in effect

ake Cowichan mayor and council would like to remind local residents that there are sprinkling/watering restrictions in effect all year round

Lake Cowichan mayor and council would like to remind local residents that there are sprinkling/watering restrictions in effect all year round, and it is especially important to abide by these restrictions now that summer has hit with full force.

“Odd-numbered premises may water on odd-numbered days and even-numbered premises on even-numbered days. Sprinkling may occur between 6 and 9 a.m. and 7 and 10 p.m. on the appropriate day,” reads a memo from the Tuesday, August 7 meeting.

Failure to comply with the restrictions could result in a fine, although hand watering of trees and shrubs, flowers or vegetable gardens may occur on any day of the week.

Coun. Frank Hornbrook did note that he was surprised at the time frame for the restrictions, as he thought that they were only in effect from June 9 to September 30.

This comment started a discussion at the table about the hours given for watering, and what works best for local residents and for Public Works town employees.

“We used to have water regulations that restricted watering to six and ten-o-clock,” commented Joseph Fernadez, the town’s chief administrative officer. “That was for the mornings and the evenings, and council changed it to three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening.”

He went on to say that the problem with the current hours is that they cause a bit of confusion for residents because hours are not consistent for morning and evening. It also causes some difficulties for town employees who don’t start work until 7 a.m. on weekdays.

“So it doesn’t work for Public Works,” said Fernandez. “You have them watering past nine at times, and as a result you have the public coming and saying, look you have them watering at all hours of the day. If the town doesn’t have to comply, why should we?”

The table then discussed the possibility of either changing the hours to be more consistent, ie. From 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., and from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., or going back to the four hour morning and evening watering hours.

Coun. Tim McGonigle did point out that the reduction in hours was an effort to ensure water conservation.

“I think by evening the time-lines that we would negate the confusion, but I don’t think I would be in favour of adding an hour to that,” said McGonigle. He pointed out that people can still hand water if they need to.

“What I would like to see in the water restriction is something along the lines of: should the [fire department] alarms go off that sprinklers are turned off to ensure water pressure for the fire department services,” added McGonigle.

All at the table agreed that they would like to send a friendly reminder to town residents to turn off sprinkler systems in the event of a fire alarm.

They also discussed how to deal with the Public Works watering hours issue, and whether or not these hours need to be separate from residential hours – though not more – and decided that town staff would look into alternatives and investigate what other municipalities are doing and come back to council with recommendations for the next Public Works meeting.