Proposed water bylaw improvements support Cochrane’s water sustainability plan

Person watering yard with a watering can

At the March 11 meeting, Administration brought forward recommendation changes to the existing Water Utility Bylaw to provide enhanced operational flexibility to adapt to the future crises. These recommended changes stem from the learnings from the October 2023 Water / Wastewater event.

“Our community has done a great job of conserving water, but we are not done,” says Shane Hubl, Cochrane’s Director of Operations. “As we move into the summer, resiliency and planning cannot be understated. This amendment to the bylaw adds some additional clarity to the water restrictions we have had in place for Cochrane since 2007.”

Council has invested in Cochrane’s water sustainability through increased funding that has supported additional staff, the Water Loss Mitigation program, water conservation and community rebates. Despite the success our municipality has seen in these areas, Cochrane is not immune to the challenges that communities may face in the event of a drought.

The proposed amendments include:

  • Replacing references to 'Outdoor Water Use Restriction' with 'Water Use Restriction', as the most severe water emergencies may impact the availability of water both inside and outside residences and businesses.
  • Providing clarity to what each of the three water restriction levels are and guidance regarding their intended purposes.
  • Introducing language such as 'may' instead of 'will or shall' concerning application of measures to allow operational flexibility during future emergency events.
  • Expanding the irrigation timeframe from 7 p.m. - 10 a.m., as opposed to the current narrower windows (7 p.m. - 1 a.m. and 5 - 10 a.m.)

“While extending our watering hours overnight may seem counterintuitive, our data trends indicate that the current ‘narrow’ irrigation window causes an acute reservoir draw immediately prior to the high water use morning period. This proposed bylaw modification will smooth the irrigation spike over the entire evening, ultimately promoting more consistent reservoir levels throughout the day,” added Hubl.

An additional goal with the bylaw changes is to ensure clearer community communication and a more adaptable response during future emergencies. Administration will bring forward Water Utility Bylaw 13/2024 for Second and Third reading at an upcoming Council meeting.

Cochrane's proactive steps towards water conservation are shaping a sustainable future, ensuring the community remains resilient in the face of drought management. As Cochrane moves forward, the focus remains on continuous improvement and collaboration with neighbouring municipalities – seeking new ways to enhance water conservation.

More information on water conservation in Cochrane can be found at: