Charlottetown officials say new water restrictions are working, but conservation groups say rivers are still drying up.
Romana Doyle of the Water Department said water use is down this year compared to last year. She explained the key issues.
"Essentially, watering the grass in the middle of the day is always an issue. Watering for too long, leaving the hose running or spraying off driveways and sidewalks — those tend to be our major concerns," she said Tuesday.
Charlottetown's seasonal water use restrictions came into effect early in June and will remain in place until Sep. 30.
The restrictions include limiting the watering of lawns to between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., or 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., to a maximum of two hours a day. Hosing down of hard surfaces such as sidewalks and driveways is prohibited while the restrictions are in place.
If the city catches anyone repeatedly breaking the rules, they could turn their water off. That hasn’t happened yet.
Eddie Rice, councillor for Ward 1, said he can see the results.
"We haven't been able to get the exact number, other than we see the changes happening. We watch it by the hour and we see the changes happening, the decrease in water every day," he said.
Rivers turning into hiking trails
But Cathy Corrigan of the Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association said streams at places like Winter River have barely risen.
"As you can see, it's getting dry. There are little puddles here. I'd say next week, we can use it as a hiking trail again," she said.
The watershed association wants tighter rules.
"As much as I say there's certainly a human right to a certain amount of water, I think Canadians, North Americans, use way, way too much water compared to what we need, as opposed to what we want," Corrigan said.
Charlottetown officials say if the situation gets worse, they can bring in extra restrictions this summer.
Plans to develop another well at Miltonvale Park within the next couple of years should improve the situation, they added.