City moves to Stage 2 watering restrictions

As published in the July 22 issue of the Grand Forks Gazette.

Water: Every Drop Counts

City of GF Water Restrictions



Lawn and garden enthusiasts in Grand Forks residents will have to work a little harder to keep things green. On Monday, council voted to implement Stage 2 water restrictions in Grand Forks and to also implement a yellow flag program to increase public awareness.

Stage 2 restrictions limit watering to twice a week. Sprinkling is only permitted at residential, commercial and other non-agricultural properties on the following: EVEN addresses Saturdays and Tuesdays, while ODD addresses go Sundays and Wednesdays, between 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Automated sprinklers can water between 12 a.m. until 4 a.m. OR 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. but not both, on their respective sprinkling days (even—Saturday/Tuesday, odd Sunday/Wednesday).

Flower gardens, vegetable gardens and newly planted lawns and landscapes may be hand watered at any time using a hand held nozzle.

In the background information from David Reid, manager of operations, he states that Vancouver Island is currently at a level 4 (highest) drought rating, while the B.C. drought classification for the Boundary is 3, meaning very dry conditions. (Please note that provincial rating (drought classification) is different from the city’s water restriction stages)

“During peak demand hours all city wells have to run to maintain an adequate level of water in the reservoirs to provide water to the public and to fire protection services,” he wrote. “During those hours there is no redundancy in the event of a failure.”

Council added two provisions to the restrictions:

1. Residents are prohibited from vehicle and driveway washing except for commercial car washes.

2. Homeowners are encouraged to purchase a timer for their outside taps and water between 12 (midnight) and 4 a.m. as per the requirements for timed underground sprinklers.

Council is also respectfully requesting residents not to water any lawns, although it was not added to the bylaw.

“There are no restrictions on hand watering using hand-held hoses but we’re encouraging people not to water their lawns,” said Councillor Chris Hammett.

Councillor Colleen Ross said going to stage 2 water restrictions is very important with climate change and the lack of snow pack contributing to very low river levels. “We’re in a drought,” she said. “We have higher temperatures than we’ve experienced probably in decades. It just makes sense for us to be water wise and be more conscious of how we consume water in this community.”

The yellow flag program means if a resident violates the sprinkling restrictions, they would receive a yellow flag on their front lawn. “It is not meant to be punitive but is meant to increase awareness,” said Reid. “It is a simple reminder that there is watering restrictions in place and to adjust your sprinkling accordingly.”

Ross said it’s important for residents to follow the water restriction guidelines.

“We have bylaws in place and we have fines in place,” she said, “and we have protocols in place to enforce the bylaws.”

Ross added that it’s also important to educate the public, which is the reasoning behind the yellow flag program.