Since May 2003, the City of Brantford has been implementing strict watering restrictions in an effort to lower water consumption throughout the summer months. According to Leanne Knuckle of the City of Brantford Water Conservation Program, water consumption peaks in the summer primarily due to lawn watering.
The watering restrictions take effect each year on June 1, and remain until September 1. Residents are only able to water their lawns on even days, if their residence has an even number, and odd days if their residence is odd numbered. Watering may also only take place from 7-9 A.M. and 7-9 P.M. If residents need to water outside of these periods, they are asked to file for a special permit, free of charge.
On May 31, the city sold rain barrels for a subsidized cost, and have topped sales this year at around 1500 purchased. The sale was so successful, that the rainbarrels ran out, and rain checks had to be issued to many residents. Rainbarrels allow rainwater to be collected, and then redistributed on lawns. The use of rainwater is not only more environmentally conscious and economical, it is also better for plants as well because it has not been chemically treated.
When asked if some areas of Brantford see higher offence numbers than others, Knuckle states, “Some people feel like they need to keep up with the Joneses and have the perfect lawn… [if] the odd house let’s their house go brown, I don’t think it’s looked on favourably by neighbours.”
In order to combat the issue of over-watering to maintain the perfect lawn, the City of Brantford has implemented a program that recognizes “waterwise” gardens. Waterwise landscaping consists of planting drought-tolerant plants that can survive on rainfall alone, eliminating the necessity to water the lawn. These lawns are completely self-sufficient, minus the pruning, and require very little water after the rooting process has occurred.
Demonstration waterwise gardens are on display at Tranquility Hall, at the corner of Powerline Road and Francis Street. There are many different garden styles to peruse, including cottage garden, formal garden, and kitchen garden. Many of the plants are native to the area, and can be implemented in most garden spaces.
If residents choose to participate in the initiative, they are encouraged to contact the city to have their gardens evaluated. If the garden meets the city’s regulations, residents are awarded with a plaque, and their address is published for recognition in the fall.
For more information regarding watering restrictions and waterwise gardens, visit here.