Water Conservation

Water Conservation Rebates

Find out how rebates available for water conservation work and how to apply for them.

Water Rates

Find water rates and learn about how Cochrane’s three-tier water rate works.

Watering restrictions

The Water Utility Bylaw outlines rules and regulations related to the following:

  • hydrants
  • utility accounts
  • rates and billing
  • water conservation (including time-of-day watering restrictions)
  • plumbing fixtures
  • water quality and bulk water

Cochrane has three water restriction levels with specific rules for allowable outdoor water use. In the event of declining and unrecoverable treated water storage volumes (such as a mechanical breakdown at the Water Treatment Plant), the Town may increase water restrictions to level two or three. These restrictions make sure that water storage levels are protected until the problem is resolved. The priority is maintaining water supply for indoor use, maintaining fire protection storage in the water distribution system and replenishing reservoir storage volumes.  

Read the Water Utility Bylaw

Level one: careful use

Level one restrictions are in effect year-round to promote water conservation related to outdoor use and eliminate sprinkler use during the warmest part of the day. 

The use of potable water through a sprinkler and/or automated irrigation  is permitted before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m. 

Exceptions include: 

  • Flowerbeds and vegetable gardens may be watered by hand, at any time, using a watering 
  • can or a hose with a nozzle with a trigger shut off to restrict water flow; and
  • Sprinklers and water toys, including without limitation children’s pools, may be used for  recreational purposes by children as long as children are present during use.

Cochrane must approve all requests for site and condition-specific irrigation and all irrigation schedules for parks and ball fields.

Level two: prohibited outdoor use

Level two restrictions prohibits the outdoor use of potable water to reduce customer demand related to outdoor water use  or to comply with Alberta Environment and Protected Areas requirements. 

During level two restrictions, you may not:

  • use a sprinkler or automated irrigation systems
  • wash your vehicle, sidewalk, driveway or home exterior
  • fill your hot tub or pool or use children's water toys

During level two restrictions, you may: 

  • water your flower beds and vegetable gardens by hand using a watering can or hose nozzle with trigger control

Cochrane may limit or suspend Non-Domestic Bulk water sales.

Cochrane may permit site specific and condition specific watering, to establish and protect new plants and sod. Conditions apply.

Lifting of a Level 2 Restriction may be based on, but not limited to: customer demand, Potable Water reservoir levels and distribution system operation. 

Level three: essential use

Level three water restrictions may be enacted as an emergency water conservation measure to protect Cochrane's water reservoir levels and maintain potable water supply for fire storage volumes and basic personal and premise hygiene.

If seasonally appropriate, all items contained within the Level Two Restriction are in effect.

Residents shall immediately reduce daily household use by the percentage and volume communicated through public notice at declaration of the Level Three Restriction. Further reductions and measures may be requested or required during a Level Three Restriction. 

Distribution system pressure will be reduced as necessary, subject to Fire Services review.

Non-domestic Bulk water sales will be suspended, limited Domestic Bulk water sales may be permitted.

Lifting of a Level Three Restriction may be based on, but not limited to: customer demand, Potable Water reservoir levels and distribution system operation.

Be Water Wise

Did you know that level one water restrictions are in place year round? You may water outside before 10 a.m., or after 7 p.m. Remember that established lawns only need one inch of water per week, which is enough to fill a Frisbee.
Frisbee on lawn

New sod and naturescaping

Consider fescue sod rather than kentucky bluegrass; fescue is local and requires little to no water once established.

Learn more about naturescaping and lawn alternatives

To ensure the health of your new sod while being conscious of water use, following the below guidelines for watering: 

  • water the site about 24 hours before your sod arrives to store moisture in the soil and ensure the topsoil is not too wet for the crew to walk on
  • on the day the sod is laid, water it thoroughly in the evening between 7 p.m. and 10 a.m.; stop watering once the water begins to run off; new sod needs frequent, light watering to help establish the root system
  • on day two, water again in the morning and evening (during watering hours only)
  • on the morning of day three, lift a corner of the sod to see if it is still moist underneath; if moist, wait until the evening water hours to water again; if dry, water during morning watering hours
  • for the next few days, water once a day during watering hours to encourage deep root growth
  • for the next two weeks, water only as needed, depending on the weather and watering restrictions
  • after three weeks, the sod should be established; deep water once a week during watering hours only

When establishing a new lawn, you may occasionally need to water outside the watering hours, which requires a watering permit. Call 403-851-2280 for details.