On June 16, the Suburban, a West Island weekly newspaper, featured an article about restricting inessential water use during the summer. Residents risk paying heavy fines for watering their lawns and gardens during specific hours, depending on the municipality.
Conservation measures have been put into place in Dorval due to Lac St. Louis’ dangerously low water levels. Homeowners have been forbidden to water their properties before 9 p.m on weekdays and all day Sunday until the first of September. Dollard des Ormeaux and Pierrefonds-Roxboro residents are prohibited from watering their lawns entirely.
The differing municipal restrictions are due to demands on the town’s water capabilities and treatment plants. Other municipalities can water at will, but usage will be reflected on household bills after a certain amount has been reached. Water saving tools, such as rain collection barrels, can be used to meet conservation goals and avoids fines.
On average, Montrealers use 343 liters, per person, per day. That’s like drinking close to 300 milk jugs every day. Usage increases tremendously in the summer from the watering of lawns and gardens, filling swimming pools, washing cars, slip ‘n slides and so on.
The watering restrictions make sense, although you will always catch people using water at the worst times, in the worst days.
Watering anything mid-day, whether in the sun or the shade, wastes about 80% of that water because it will be evaporated before it reaches the roots. It’s best to collect rain and use it to water a garden with, in the mornings, of course.
For starters, it hasn’t been treated in the municipal water system, has no added chlorine, which can eventually be harmful to plants and uses what plants have historically used to survive: water falling freely from the sky.
Adding to Montreal’s water problems are the fact that most of the city is equipped with old, leaky underground pipes. Clearly, better water policy and expensive pipe refurbishing is what’s needed, but for now, we can all help out one drop at a time.