Water Restrictions in Alberta – Water Conservation Tips
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Water Restrictions in Alberta – Water Conservation Tips for Spring & Summer

Reading time: 6 minutes

Water restrictions have been a cause of concern in Alberta, particularly in Calgary and Edmonton. With ongoing drought conditions and lower-than-usual snowpack levels, we could be in for tougher restrictions this year. City officials predict that year-round restrictions could begin as early as this spring.

We've put together practical water conservation tips for spring and summer to help you keep your lawn lush and healthy despite the challenges.

Green Drop truck watering lawns in Alberta

Understanding Water Restrictions in Alberta

Alberta faces recurring drought conditions, and the situation has become increasingly critical due to climate change.

Despite recent heavy snowfall, depleted snowpack levels have led to significantly lower water flows in the Bow and Elbow rivers, which supply much of Calgary and Edmonton’s water. Rising demand from a growing population and industrial needs worsen the issue.

City officials are concerned about ensuring enough water is available to meet Calgary’s essential needs, such as drinking water, firefighting, and critical environmental needs.

Scope of Restrictions

Last year, Calgary imposed water restrictions from mid-August to the end of October, limiting most outdoor water usage to two days a week. This year, city officials predict tougher, year-round restrictions to start as early as spring. Restrictions in Calgary and Edmonton may include:

  • Setting watering schedules that limit outdoor watering to specific days or times.
  • Banning the washing of driveways, sidewalks, and other hard surfaces.
  • Reducing water pressure in the distribution system.
  • Prohibiting the filling of swimming pools or water features.

This is to ensure sufficient water for essential needs and support the health of local rivers and ecosystems.

Green Drop truck in Alberta watering lawns during drought

So, What Does That Mean for Our Lawns?

Don’t worry, water restrictions don’t mean that you can’t water your lawn at all. Most restrictions will still allow limited watering during early morning hours for efficient water use. In fact, with deep but less frequent watering, you can encourage stronger root growth, helping your lawn stay resilient.

Efficient watering techniques and proper lawn care practices can help you maintain a healthy, vibrant lawn.

Saving Water, Saving Green

Water conservation plays a big role in preserving local ecosystems. By reducing the amount of water drawn from rivers and reservoirs, you’re easing the pressure on Alberta’s natural water bodies. This supports the delicate balance of local aquatic life and the surrounding biodiversity.

Water conservation also helps maintain groundwater levels, which are essential for both human consumption and sustaining wildlife habitats. The ripple effect of saving water extends far beyond your backyard, contributing to the health of the entire environment.

Reducing water usage can help your lawn thrive while keeping a little more green in your wallet. When you overwater, your lawn develops shallow roots, leaving it vulnerable to drought. Instead, deep and infrequent watering encourages strong root growth and increases drought resistance.

Water sprinkler watering a lawn
Photo credits unsplash.com

Watering Tips for Spring and Summer to Conserve Water

1. Early Morning Watering

Timing is everything when it comes to watering your lawn. The best time to water is early morning, between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. During this window, temperatures are cooler, and the wind is typically calmer, allowing the water to soak into the soil before evaporation kicks in. Early morning watering also gives your grass time to dry off during the day, reducing the risk of fungal growth.

2. Avoid Night Watering

While watering your lawn at night might seem like a convenient option considering there is less chance of wastage due to evaporation, it can lead to problems. Moisture lingering on the grass overnight creates a perfect breeding ground for fungal growth and diseases like powdery mildew. Watering in the early morning is the healthier alternative for your lawn.

3. How Much to Water

Finding the right balance in watering is crucial for maintaining a lush, healthy lawn. As a general rule, aim to provide 2.5–4 cm (1–1.5 inches) of water per week, or about 1 inch per session. You can measure your sprinkler’s water output using empty tuna cans or measuring cups placed around your lawn. This method will help you gauge how long to run your sprinklers to reach the right water level.

4. Soil Types Matter

The type of soil in your yard also plays a significant role in determining your watering schedule. Clay soils absorb water slowly, so apply water gradually to avoid runoff. In contrast, sandy soils drain quickly, meaning shorter, more frequent watering sessions may be necessary to ensure adequate absorption.

5. Deep and Less Frequent Watering

One of the most common watering mistakes is watering too frequently but not deeply enough. This approach only moistens the surface, encouraging turfgrass roots to grow shallowly. Shallow roots are less capable of accessing water deeper in the soil, making the grass more susceptible to drought and disease.

Instead, water your lawn deeply but less frequently. This method encourages deeper root growth, making your grass more drought-resistant and healthier overall. To achieve this goal, set your automatic sprinklers to water once a week for one hour per area.

Green Drop truck in Alberta watering lawn during drought

Adjusting Lawn Care Practices

In addition to efficient watering techniques, adjusting your overall lawn care practices can help maximize water conservation and maintain a healthy lawn.

Mowing Techniques

  • Mowing Height. Mow your grass to maintain a height of 7.5-10 cm (3-4 inches). Taller grass shades the soil, reducing evaporation and encouraging deeper root growth.
  • Avoid Scalping. Don’t cut more than one-third of the grass blade length in a single mow; this can affect the grass and increase its water needs.

Fertilization

  • Slow-Release Fertilizers. Use slow-release fertilizers to promote steady, consistent growth.
  • Avoid Over-Fertilization. Overuse of fertilizers can increase water demand and make your lawn more susceptible to disease. Balance is everything!

Aeration

Aerate your lawn in the early spring or fall to reduce soil compaction, improve water absorption, and enhance root growth. Your cutoff for the best impact in the spring is around June (so hurry up).

Mulching

Leave grass clippings on the lawn to act as natural mulch, helping to retain moisture and return valuable nutrients to the soil.

Alternative Watering Sources

It’s best to have access to alternative watering sources. Here are some ways you can do that.

  • Rain Barrels. Collecting rainwater is an excellent way to reduce reliance on municipal water supplies. Install rain barrels under your downspouts to collect runoff from your roof, and use this free water for your lawn and garden.
  • Greywater Recycling. Greywater is the relatively clean wastewater from showers, sinks, and laundry. Consider installing a greywater recycling system to reuse this water for non-edible plants in your garden. However, be sure to check your local regulations and guidelines before implementing this system.
  • Drip Irrigation and Soaker Hoses. Drip irrigation systems and soaker hoses deliver water directly to the roots of your plants, minimizing evaporation and runoff. These systems are ideal for flowerbeds, shrubs, and vegetable gardens, providing a consistent and efficient water supply.

Incorporating alternative watering sources into your lawn care routine will help you maintain a lush, green lawn while reducing your water consumption.

lawn in Alberta during drought season after Green Drop treatment

Keep Calm, Conserve Water, and Book Your Premium Lawn Package Today

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Ready to give your lawn the royal treatment? Book a service now, and let us help you turn your lawn into the crown jewel of the neighbourhood!

We provide our lawn care services in Calgary, Edmonton, and Red Deer, Alberta. We’re also serving Regina, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg.

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