Water Conservation

Outdoor 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: limited outdoor use

You may water outside between 5am and 10am or 7pm and 1am. Established lawns only need one inch (2.5 cm) of water per week, which is enough to fill an average frisbee. Level-one restrictions are in effect year-round. 

More water tips:

  • Water your flower beds and vegetable gardens by hand with a watering can or hose nozzle with trigger control.
  • Use surface and underground sprinklers for no more than 15 minutes per section of lawn. If water is running onto the street, shut it off.
  • Children may use sprinklers, pools, and water toys at any time during the day. Shut off water when they are not using them.

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

Level two: mostly prohibited outdoor use

During level-two restrictions: 

  • you cannot use a sprinkler 
  • you must let your lawn go dormant
  • you may not wash your vehicle, sidewalk, windows, or siding 
  • you may water your flower beds and vegetable gardens by hand using a watering can or hose nozzle with trigger control

Limited site and condition-specific watering by commercial or institutional operations may be permitted. Watering must be done using metered hand watering or continually monitored irrigation systems to establish and protect new plants and sod.

Level three: all outdoor water use prohibited

During level-three restrictions:

  • watering outside is prohibited 
  • water pressure will be reduced as required, as approved by the Cochrane Fire Department
  • no bulk water sales will be allowed 

Level-three restrictions will be strictly enforced. Learn to use water wisely by collecting rainwater in a barrel or cistern and selecting drought tolerant plants. Conservation measures and sensible water use may avoid level two and level three restrictions.

Level two and three restrictions would be implemented to protect declining potable water treatment storage volumes and fire hydrant pressure. We must all comply with the bylaw. Help conserve water for everyone.

New sod and naturescaping

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

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 pm and 1 am; 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

Questions? Contact our Water team at 403-851-2280. 

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.

Water Conservation Rebates

Find out about 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.

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.
iperl with radio labelled