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Watering restrictions: Are they too restrictive?

I received the following question/complaint from a West Bench resident regarding watering restrictions:

[..] we have a manual system and sometimes on our watering day / evening we actually aren’t home to turn the system on.  So for us to have the same number of hours on a manual system that the automatics have just isn’t a level playing field – it would be nice to have extra time to account for our human inefficiency.   In the past, we had something like 5 pm to midnight or something and that was adequate, but only 3 hours of prescribed watering in the evening every other day means we’ll be slaves to that schedule, we’ll be outside the regulations,  or our yard goes down the tube [...]

Although we are all worried about water use in the Okanagan (see pictures of drought in California if you are not) the underlying purpose of restrictions on the timing of water usage is to accommodate our limited capacity constraints during peak demand. Here is what water systems in the Okanagan are up against (see the original OBWB article here):

Most water systems do not attempt to accommodate peak demand because that peak is so short in duration and capacity (pipes, pumps) is very expensive.  The simple fact that we can survive for so much of the year with so little water suggests that the peak is largely discretionary and can be managed.  So, like all water systems, we use water restrictions to make sure everyone is not watering their lawn on the same day.  If that happens our reservoirs go dry, our fire hydrants become useless, and our expensive pumps run overtime.  Better, I think you would agree, if everyone plays along.

Having said that, are we too restrictive on the West Bench? The watering restrictions for the West Bench can be found here. The window for manual watering is 6-9 AM and 6-9 PM.  I have had other people complain that this is unrealistic.  I have talked to Roger Huston, the new RDOS Manager of Public Works, and he says we may have some flexibility.  The key is to discourage watering during the heat of the day.

We can tweak this, but I want to hear from you first.  Any comments or questions about West Bench watering restrictions. You can post a comment below, contact me at, or talk directly with RDOS Public Works (contact page).



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