After spending most of the summer studying the issue, Sedgewick Town Council gave first, second and third reading to Bylaw 542, The Outdoor Watering Bylaw on August 23rd. The new bylaw replaces Bylaw 473 which was known as the Watering Restriction Bylaw.
The original Bylaw 473 was created to tackle the issue of low reservoir levels at the water treatment plant and although still a concern, loosens the restrictions somewhat and attempts to remove confusion regarding when residents can or cannot water.
“Bylaw 473 served its purpose for a number of years, but we’re now trying to evolve to a simpler and somewhat less restrictive bylaw that will hopefully be more convenient for our residents, yet still allow for protection of our potable water reservoir,” said CAO Jim Fedyk. “The previous bylaw had different numbered addresses being allowed to water on different days of the week and we found that there was a lot of confusion about when you could or couldn’t water. We’ve gotten rid of those limitations and have just tried to take a common sense approach to the subject by limiting watering of lawns during the hottest part of the day and limiting our regular restrictions to that.”
The new bylaw allows residents to water every day of the week, regardless of their house address. It does require them to not water their lawns with a hose, pipe, sprinkler or irrigation system between the hours of 10am and 5pm (from June 1st to October 1st) which is when the heat of the day leads to much water loss through evaporation. Watering from a watering can, hose with nozzle or a drip irrigation system would be allowed at any time of the day.
To protect the important water reservoir levels, the bylaw allows for further restrictions to be imposed by the Town at the discretion of the Public Works Foreman. A Special Outdoor Water Restriction could further restrict the watering of lawns, usage of garden hoses, filling pools or hot tubs, using water dispensing recreational toys or other outdoor water usage.
In the event of an emergency, the bylaw gives room to declare a Total Watering Ban which would include the closure of the bulk water station.
Special restrictions or bans would be relayed to the public through notices on the Town’s social media sites as well as posters at the Town office and at the post office. In addition, depending on the circumstance, the Town may also decide to place out street signage, make door-to-door visits or advertise in the local newspaper to make residents aware of such a declaration.
To review Bylaw 542, click on ‘Government>Governance>Bylaws’ at the top of this page.