Water Conservation By-law

The Region of Waterloo Water Conservation By-law 07-069 is in effect May 31 to September 30. 

Prior to the Water Conservation By-law, water use would increase up to 50 per cent during the summer months. This increased water use put additional strain on the water supply and distribution system. 

Outdoor water use such as watering grass or gardens, filling pools or washing cars, can quickly increase your water consumption. Following the Water Conservation By-law and including these outdoor watering tips as part of your summer watering can help ensure a sustainable supply of water for everyone.

Find your outdoor watering times

Lawn watering

You can water your lawn one day a week.

Lawn watering must take place on your assigned day between 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

Addresses ending with a:

  • 0 or 1 water lawns on Mondays
  • 2 or 3 water lawns on Tuesdays
  • 4 or 5 water lawns on Wednesdays
  • 6 or 7 water lawns on Thursdays
  • 8 or 9 water lawns on Fridays

Other outdoor watering activities

Other outdoor watering activities include watering gardens, trees, shrubs and other outdoor plants, washing vehicles with a controlled hose or shut-off valve, and topping up of permanent residential pools.

For other outdoor activities (not lawn watering), you can water every other day between 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. and 11 p.m..

The last digit of your address street number determines your watering days.

  • Odd-numbered property addresses can water on odd-numbered calendar dates. For example, a property with address 205 can water on the 1st, the 3rd, the 5th, etc.
  • Even-numbered property addresses can water on even-numbered calendar dates. For example, a property with address 1078 can water on the 2nd, the 4th, the 6th, etc.

Seed, sod and nematode applications

 Request additional lawn watering days when applying nematodes, planting sod or when seeding your lawn.

Nematode applications

Applying for a nematode watering permit

Each property can only request one watering permit for nematodes in a calendar year.

Before applying nematodes, contact the Region of Waterloo to request additional watering times.

  • Complete the nematodes watering application form or call 519-575-4400 (Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TTY): 519-575-4608) to request additional watering times.
  • You will need to provide your name, address, phone number and the nematode application date
  • A watering permit will be mailed to your property
  • You do not need to display this permit on your property. However, proof of your nematode purchase must be available if requested by the Region of Waterloo.

Watering times with a nematode watering permit

Upon registering your request and after applying the nematodes to your lawn, you can water anytime for the first 24 hours and then between 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. for the next six days following the manufacturer's instructions.

Newly planted sod or seed

We encourage everyone to plant new seed or sod in the spring and fall, when temperatures are cooler and less watering is required.

Applying for a sod or seed watering permit

Each property can only receive one watering permit for new seed or sod in a calendar year.

Before planting sod or seeding your lawn, contact the Region of Waterloo to request additional watering times:

Watering times with a sod or seed watering permit

Upon registering your request and after planting the sod or seed you can water:

  • first 24 hours = anytime
  • next six days = every day between 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • next seven days = on your odd or even calendar day based on the last digit of your address number between 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m..  For example if your property address is 123 Water Street, you can water on odd days.

Answers to your questions

Don't see an answer to your question?

Contact Water Efficiency by email or call 519-575-4400 (Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TTY): 519-575-4608).

May 31 to September 30, if calling, request extension 3445.

Can I request a change to my lawn watering day?

You may apply for a change to your lawn watering day. Once the new watering day is approved, you must only water on that day or you can be fined without warning.

  • Applications only accepted on or after May 1 of the year you are applying
  • Limited number of permits available on a first come, first served basis
  • There is no waiting list
  • $10 administrative fee applies for each permit and is only valid for year issued
  • Approved applicants will receive a sticker to display on front door or window of the property

To request a new watering day, complete the change watering day application form or call 519-575-4400 extension 3445 (Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TTY): 519-575-4608).

Can I use a hand-held watering can to water my garden when it is not my allowed watering day?

Yes, you can use buckets, barrels or watering cans that are not directly connected to the municipal water supply to water lawns and gardens at any time.

Can I use a hose connected to the water supply or irrigation system to water gardens, trees, shrubs and plants on my odd-even watering day?

Yes as long as watering occurs between 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

If I have an automatic irrigation system with a set timer, can I apply for a permit to operate outside the normal restriction hours?

No, everyone must follow their assigned watering days and hours.

Must the Region of Waterloo issue an official warning before laying charges for not following the Water Conservation By-law?

No, Regional Police and By-law Enforcement Officers may lay charges without warning. However, Region policy is to provide education, information and warning notices to property owners as a courtesy. If water use violations are observed after a warning has been issued, charges will be laid.

Is refilling a pool following installation or after completing repairs subject to following the Water Conservation By-law watering times?

No. The current Water Conservation By-law applies to top ups only. Complete filling of pools is not restricted.

Can I wash my vehicle at any time?

If connecting directly to the municipal supply, you must wash your vehicle on your assigned outdoor watering days. If you are washing your vehicle with a bucket, you can wash it at any time.

Can I run a car wash event to raise funds for charitable purposes while the Water Conservation By-law is in effect?

Yes but we ask that you notify the Region of Waterloo at 519-575-4400 extension 3445 (Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TTY): 519-575-4608). Provide the date and time of the event, the charity the event is for and your contact information. This helps us respond to potential complaints.

Can I wash my deck, house or driveway with a hose or power washer before applying treatments or paint?

Yes, you may wash once immediately prior to applying any paint or treatment. However, weekly or regular washing and hosing of these areas is not allowed.

Is once-through water use for children's municipal play areas allowed while the Water Conservation By-law is in effect?

Yes, water use through sprinklers and fountains for children's recreation both in public and private areas is allowed.

 

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