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Dry, hot weather forces Guelph to tighten outdoor watering restrictions early this year

At Level 1 Yellow, lawn watering is restricted to 7-9 a.m. and 7-9 p.m. Odd-numbered houses can water on odd-numbered days and even-number houses on even days. File / Global News

The City of Guelph is already tightening its outdoor watering restrictions this year due to dry and hot conditions over the last few weeks.

The move to “Level 1 Yellow” is happening much earlier in 2021 compared to previous years, with restrictions not increasing until July between 2018 and last year.

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“Consistent hot weather and no rain, especially this early in the season, means a higher demand for water,” said Karen McKeown, the city’s outdoor water-use program coordinator.

“People are gardening, laying sod and opening pools — these all require a lot of water use. We know Guelphites care about saving water, so we encourage them to keep up the good work.”

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Guelph is the largest community in Canada that relies almost completely on groundwater for its water supply, the city said.

It added that in the last few weeks, there has been 50 per cent less precipitation than Guelph usually averages this time of year.

At Level 1 Yellow, lawn watering is restricted to 7-9 a.m. and 7-9 p.m. Odd-numbered houses can water on odd-numbered days and even-number houses on even days.

Car washing is permitted at home with a hose with a shut-off nozzle. Watering flowers and plants is permitted at any time.

Trees and vegetable gardens can also be watered any day at any time, kids can still play in sprinklers and splash pads, and residents can still refill their pools, hot tubs, garden ponds or fountains.

Some of the infractions include using a hose without a shut-off nozzle, using a hose to wash your driveway, running sprinklers while it rains, or operating a fountain without recirculating water.

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Not following the rules can result in a $350 fine but bylaw officers have a history of using an education-first approach.

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The city said it will continue to monitor conditions throughout the summer to decide if watering restrictions need to change again, up or down.

More information on the city’s watering restrictions can be found on its website.

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