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EDITORIAL: Get ready to reduce water use this year

All Okotokians can do their part by reducing the amount of water they use on their lawns and gardens this summer.
Okotoks council has revised the outdoor watering schedule for 2024.

We’re all going to have to do our part. 

With the threat of drought looming over much of this country, including southern Alberta, Canadians will be asked, or perhaps compelled, to reduce their water usage this spring and summer so there will be enough to accommodate essential uses. 

Okotoks council began taking steps last week to address this situation when it approved modifications to this year’s outdoor watering schedule. The new rules still allow watering two days each week, although weekends are now off limits and the time that watering can take place has been cut from three hours to two hours. 

They’re far from onerous changes, but they should help reduce usage, which rises by about 30 per cent once outdoor watering kicks in each year as treated water is liberally dispensed on lawns and gardens, often unnecessarily so. 

With snowpack and river levels below where they typically are at this time of year, there’s a very real concern that, depending on what Mother Nature has in store in the coming months, water could be in shorter supply come the heat of the summer, so reducing outdoor usage is the easiest, least painful way to respond to that shortage. 

In situations like this, a lawn with a brown or golden hue isn’t considered an eyesore, but rather an acknowledgement that you’re doing your part to ensure a precious natural resource isn’t being squandered. A lawn that goes dormant in the summer rebounds quickly as soon as the rain starts falling, so there are no long-term negative impacts to keeping the sprinkler in the shed where it most certainly belongs. 

It’s hard to know what to expect in the months ahead weather-wise, but the sooner we get into the habit of being a little more judicious with our water use, the better off we will be. 

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