We recognize that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are staying home and gardening this year. Abiding by watering restrictions is an important community effort that helps ensure adequate supply for fire protection, and we thank you.
Summer water use restrictions
Help ensure reliable water supply, environmental sustainability and responsible infrastructure management by complying with outdoor watering restrictions from June 15 to September 15.
Reliable water supply
A reliable water supply helps ensure potable water reserves, adequate water pressure and fire protection. Each year, the warmer weather is associated with a higher demand on water systems as families fill their pools, gardeners water their shrubs and lawns, and people wash their cars more frequently.
Reducing our use of treated water during times when the demand for it is highest helps ensure the reliable water supply we all count on.
Much of the water from sprinklers and hoses (such as, from washing cars) runs off into the storm sewer, picking up pollutants that finally end up in Lake Ontario. This is known as run-off pollution. Reducing outdoor water use reduces the pollutants that end up in surrounding bodies of fresh water.
Plus, watering in the morning, as encouraged by the watering restrictions, avoids evaporation and grass diseases.
Responsible infrastructure management
Water and wastewater treatment infrastructure is built to handle peak demand times, typically during the summer months, from 10 AM to 5 PM, when collectively we use the most treated water.
Reducing how much water we use during these peak times can reduce the need to expand pumping stations and treatment facilities – lowering construction and operating costs, and keeping the cost of providing water to your home and business lower.
Outdoor watering restrictions
The City of Kingston By-law No. 2006-122 (the “Water By-law”) provides for the regulation of water supply, including the external use of municipal water.
According to provisions of the bylaw, the following watering restrictions will apply annually from June 15 to September 15 (watering fines apply):
- Have a building with an odd-numbered address? You may use outdoor treated water on odd-numbered calendar days.
- Have a building with an even-numbered address? You may use outdoor treated water on even-numbered calendar days.
- On your scheduled day, outdoor watering is permitted at any time with a hand-held hose, can or bucket for activities such as watering lawns and gardens, washing cars and recreation.
- Sprinkling devices, such as lawn sprinklers, can only be used in the mornings between 5 and 10 AM on your scheduled day.
Use a rain barrel
Rain barrels help protect the environment by reducing the amount of treated lake water used for watering gardens, and by diverting rainwater from the sanitary and storm sewer systems. They help conserve energy by reducing the amount of water and wastewater that Utilities Kingston needs to pump and treat, and save you money by lowering your monthly water consumption.
Of course, you can use water from your rain barrel anytime!
(Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have suspended non-essential services, and rain barrels are not available for sale in 2020).
Early morning is considered the best time to water your lawn to avoid evaporation and grass diseases. Lawns only need about three cm (one inch) of water weekly. A typical lawn sprinkler will deliver that amount in about one hour.
Learn how to make every rain drop count with information on best watering practices, drought tolerant gardening and greener lawn care tips.
Water wise gardening
One of the best ways to reduce your use of outdoor water is to practice water wise gardening. Use compost to slow the absorption of water and plant drought-tolerant plants that are adapted to local conditions. You can search and learn about our online database of plants that you will find in the garden when you visit.
We understand that sometimes outdoor water is needed outside of the normally permitted days and times. Residents may be granted an exemption permit to water new yards, trees or shrubs. One exemption permit can be granted per property, per year. The permit is only valid for the seven-day period listed on the permit.
If you have a new yard (sod or seeded new lawn) you can apply for an exemption permit. The permit will allow you to water your new lawn for seven consecutive days with a sprinkling device, between the usual morning hours of 5 and 10 AM.
New trees or shrubs
If you have new trees or shrubs, you can apply for an exemption permit, which will allow you to water your new trees and shrubs for seven consecutive days with a hand-held hose or watering can.
Existing yards, trees, and shrubs
Exemption permits will not be issued for existing yards, trees and shrubs. However, if a circumstance of irreparable damage or undue hardship on a property owner is anticipated, up to two additional seven day exemption permits may be considered.
Purchasing an exemption permit
Permits cost $55 plus applicable taxes and are issued by Utilities Kingston. Apply for a permit online.
If you have questions about outdoor water use or would like more information about water-wise gardening, please contact customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-546-0000.