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CBC Ottawa

Don't fret about water levels, or your lawn: City

Posted by Alistair Steele

Here are the "com lines" sent to councillors by the city's communications department today (emphasis is mine):

"As residents are aware, the region has been experiencing an extended period of hot, dry weather. The City of Ottawa actively monitors weather conditions and rates of drinking water use and demand. While demand has recently been high, it is not causing water production or distribution difficulties. 

The City of Ottawa's central drinking water system relies upon the Ottawa River. The City's current water demands, while high, are only slightly over 1% of the Ottawa River flow. In other words, the City's water use is not imposing a significant demand on the river.

The City's Water Bylaw provides authority to senior City staff to impose drinking water restrictions based either upon emergency public health issues or water conservation objectives. It should be noted, however, that in the last 30 years and mandatory water restrictions have related to issues with water infrastructure, such as last summer's Woodroffe watermain replacement, not environmental conditions. The City's current position is that drinking water restrictions on the City's residents would not alleviate the ongoing low water situation in the area's rivers, such as the Rideau, Jock, Mississippi or South Nation.

While Ottawa is fortunate to have ab abundant source of water, the City still encourages residents to use this valuable resource wisely. During the peak periods in hot weather, the pressure on our water supply infrastructure can double or triple. Using water wisely prolongs the life of infrastructure, and it also save electrical power that is required to process our natural water resources into safe, drinkable water.

The hot weather may have taken the lustre out of your once-emerald green lawn, but relax. When searing heat assaults the lawn, the grass goes into a hibernation period -- just like certain animals do in the winter to survive the cold and lack of food. This built-in protection mechanism has the grass lose its vibrant colour to preserve energy. But once a good rainfall and cooler temperatures return, it regains its lush green tones.

Remember, your lawn needs only a limited amount of water to survive the summer -- and pavement needs none!"