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Legal tools

The enactment of municipal bylaws imposing water conservation or efficiency measures is common, and can be an effective way to conserve water. There are a number of legal restrictions and requirements that municipalities can implement ranging from very specific, targeted programs that restrict lawn watering to certain days of the week, to broad restrictions that require all residential, commercial, and industrial water users to prevent any wasting of water.

Water scarcity bylaws:

One form of bylaw that is a good idea for all communities to pass regardless of their current supply of water is one that gives the municipality powers to control water usage during times of scarcity. These bylaws general exist in stages, granting the municipality increased powers to ban water usage dependent on the level of drought. By passing a bylaw like this, your municipality is prepared in the event of drought, and will not need to scramble to deal with the situation.

Indoor/outdoor water use bylaws:

Programs like outdoor water use restrictions can prove very useful for municipalities that see water usage peak to unsustainable rates in the summer, but may not be useful if water consumption remains relatively constant throughout the year. Similarly, requirements to use high efficiency fixtures may not be useful if consumers in your community are already overwhelmingly purchasing them, which is increasingly the case in Alberta regardless of whether such bylaws exist. These examples highlight the importance of fully understanding the scope of water usage in your community before moving ahead with time and resource consuming work to pass bylaws.

See a list of legal tools that have been implemented across Alberta