The sun is out and the temperature is soaring, which means that it’s time for watering restrictions.
Starting June 15, the City of Castlegar introduced outdoor watering restrictions, like it does every year.
The watering restrictions are primarily put in place to spread out the peak demand to the water system that occurs during the summer.
Residents are only permitted to do outdoor watering and car-washing between the hours of 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. and then again between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. every second day.
Residents with odd-numbered street addresses water on odd calendar dates and residents with even addresses water on even calendar dates. Residents who use a water-regulating system such as timers and underground sprinklers are exempt as long as they water between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on alternating days.
Every year the same question is asked: why do we need watering restrictions when we have a lake full of water as our water supply? The answer is that the entire water system has to be built and maintained to accommodate the peak demand to the system. So by reducing the peak flow by only allowing half of the residents to water each day and ensuring they are watering at the most efficient time of day, the pressures on the whole system can be reduced.
The City of Castlegar also explains on its website, “Even if the system has adequate supply, it may not be able to pump the water fast enough during this peak period to maintain storage for firefighting purposes.”
According to Castlegar’s director of civic works Chris Barlow, peak demand is used for all of the calculations for reservoir sizing, treatment facility sizing and purification and delivery systems.
“By putting in water restrictions, we reduce the over all demand of the whole network by reducing those peak periods,” Barlow said.
He also explained that this not only reduces strains on the existing system, reducing costs and potentially extending the life of the system, but also affects any future water system projects that will take place.
Barlow said that even with the restrictions in place, some summer days can still see a peak demand of 10 times more than typical winter days.
A fine of $50 can be levied for non-compliance with the regulations. Restrictions will remain in place until Sept. 15.
The city also has another tool in place to help residents reduce their water usage: the Water Smart Ambassador. The ambassador works with residents on their watering routines and can help detect leaks using data gathered by their water meters, last year the ambassador helped more than 25 residents find leaks.
Residents who have higher than average water usage on their utility bills are encouraged to contact the ambassador for a free assessment.