The City of Charlottetown will not be waiting for a drought this year to impose restrictions on water use.

That's good news for Bruce Smith, co-ordinator of the Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association. The watershed is the city's main source of water, and last year several branches of the Winter River ran dry, partly because of the amount of water Charlottetown was pulling from its wells.

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Charlottetown can't be allowed to draw water until streams run dry, says Bruce Smith. (CBC)

"You've lost the invertebrate life that would have been in there, you've lost the fish that would have been in there," said Smith.

Smith and his group have been working hard since last summer, planting trees and digging out stream beds, to help the river recover. With this year's snow he's pleased to see the water running again, but he said more needs to be done.

"It's not satisfactory to extract so much water that the stream goes dry," he said.

Coun. Eddie Rice said more will be done.  Rice said the city will also be tougher on waste this year. Mandatory water restriction guidelines will now be enforced by law. From June to September, for instance, residents will be prohibited from hosing down their driveways.

"Conservation is just a necessary factor in today's living," said Rice.

The city is asking residents to take part in a survey on their water use to see if the city's message and initiatives to save water have hit home.

Smith supports those initiatives, but he would still like to see a more solid policy on how much water the city is allowed to draw.