Outdoor Water Use - Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we asked to reduce our outdoor water use when we live near Lake Ontario?

Although Halton Region is close to the lake and it may seem like we have access to a large amount of water, Halton Region’s water treatment facilities have a limited amount of water that they can process. There is also a maximum amount of water regulated by the Ministry of the Environment that the Region is allowed to take from water sources.  

During the summer months, when many residents are using a lot more water for activities like lawn watering and car washing the water treatment facilities are working at a much higher capacity and the reservoirs cannot always replenish quickly enough.  It is important to be mindful of how much water you are using to help avoid implementing any water restrictions, in order to ensure there is enough water for emergency services like firefighting.

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I am on a private well. Do I have to follow the Outdoor Water Use Program?

The Outdoor Water Use Program was designed for residents who get their water from the municipal water supply system. However, private wells draw water from the same ground water source as some municipal water systems, so it is in everybody's interest to be mindful of water use and help conserve when required.

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What are the different levels of the Outdoor Water Use Program?

Level 1 - Blue - Careful Use

Voluntary odd/even lawn watering between 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock in the morning and evening on days that correspond with your house number (if you have an odd numbered house, water on odd numbered calendar days and similarly for even numbered addresses). Car washing and watering of trees, shrubs and gardens is allowed on those days.

Level 2 - Yellow - Limited Use

Mandatory odd/even lawn watering between 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock in the morning and evening on days that correspond with your house number. Watering of trees, shrubs and gardens should be done using a hand held device such as a watering can.

Level 3 - Red -  Reduce & Stop

No outdoor lawn watering or car washing is permitted in order to conserve water for emergency and essential services. Watering of trees, shrubs and gardens can be done using a hand held device following the odd/even watering rule.

View the Outdoor Water Use Program activity table.

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How do I find out what the current level is?

Residents can find out what the current outdoor water use level by:

  • Community mobile signs.
  • Halton Region’s website (www.halton.ca/waterrestrictions).
  • Residents can sign up for Halton’s Outdoor Water Use Program email alert at http://webaps.halton.ca/News/alerts/Subscribe.cfm to be notified of any change to the current water restriction level.
  • Residents area also invited to dial 311, a non-emergency telephone number that offers direct access to Halton services and information including the outdoor water use level.

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Can I water my newly planted sod or seed?

Yes, watering newly planted sod or seed is allowed as needed until the sod has been established.

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Will Splash Pads remain open during water restrictions?

Yes, Splash pads will remain open during water restrictions.

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How does the Region decide what level should be in effect?

Halton Region has a set of criteria it follows for outdoor water use levels which include reviewing:  water demand, reservoir levels at the water treatment facilities, aquifer levels (groundwater) and current weather patterns.

Regional staff monitor these conditions on a daily basis. When preset levels for the different criteria are reached, the process of changing from one restriction level to another begins.

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What is the odd/even rule?

The odd/even rule means that you should only water outdoors between 6 to 9 in the morning and 6 to 9 in the evening on days that correspond with your house number. 

For example,  if your home address is an odd number, water on any odd numbered calendar days and if your home address is an even number, water on any even numbered calendar days.

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Why are we required to water our lawns at certain times?

Halton’s Outdoor Water Use Program asks that residents only water outdoors between 6 to 9 in the morning and 6 to 9 in the evening. Having specific watering times allows Halton’s water treatment facilities to replenish the reservoirs during the overnight and daytime hours.

The Region’s recommended watering times also encourage watering during the coolest parts of the day, when the least amount of evaporation (due to the sun) will occur.

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How does the Region enforce the Outdoor Water Use Program?

Halton Region's policy is to provide education, information and warning notices to encourage compliance with the Outdoor Water Use Program.

However, the Halton Waterworks By-Law 131-10 (Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF)181KB) allows for enforcement through set fines (Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF)132KB) or the issuance of summons by Municipal By-Law enforcement officers.

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Do all municipalities have a water restriction program?

Most Ontario municipalities run a yearly outdoor water use program including using a restriction program when required.

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