Kingston Bylaws: Watering Your Lawn

lawn, green grass, sprinkler, Kingston, Ontario

A couple of weeks ago we introduced a new series focused on City of Kingston bylaws.  Our last post discussed the proper disposal of large items such as furniture and household appliances, and generated some excellent questions from all of you.  This week, we’re talking about water.

With the incredible highs and lack of rain we’ve seen this  summer, many of our lawns have turn a crispy golden brown, and the desire to run through a sprinkler has been strong.  However, the city has instated a bylaw to help conserve water from June-September, although it seems that many Kingstonians are unaware of the exact rules.  Here’s the basic deal: residents living in even numbered houses may water with a hand-held hose, can or bucket on even numbered dates anytime throughout the day, and vice versa for those of us living in odd numbered homes.  When it comes to sprinklers, sorry kiddies, although it’s a great childhood memory for many of us, sprinklers aren’t actually allowed to run during the day except for the hours of 5am-10am.  For those who have newly planted gardens or lawns and need to water regularly to make the investment worthwhile, fear not, you can purchase a permit from the city for $55 that will allow you to water daily.  You can read some of the finer details here.

One excellent question we received on our last post from Shari was regarding large institutions and whether or not they are exempt from the watering bylaw.  She mentioned that one college in particular seemed to be consistently watering during the day.  We’re still waiting on a response from the city on that one so we’ll be sure to keep you posted the second we hear back.

In the meantime, you can read up on some tips on lawn watering and water conservation in general.  And tell us, what do you do to help reduce the use of water in these hot months?  Do you swear by the rain barrel?  Have automatic sprinklers that go off in the middle of the night? Or maybe you just water when your garden needs it regardless of the bylaw.  Drop us a comment below and please, keep the questions coming!

Thanks to Brian J. Matis for today’s photo.

Danielle Lennon

Danielle Lennon is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. She was the Editor, Community Event Coordinator and Contributor at-large (2008-2018). She is otherwise employed as a section violinist with the Kingston Symphony, violin teacher, studio musician and cat lover. Learn more about Danielle...

8 thoughts on “Kingston Bylaws: Watering Your Lawn

  • I have a number of potted plants on my back deck, including a patio tomato (an experiment to see if I can, when the winter comes, grow tomatoes indoors), herbs and other plants. I have generally assumed that since I fill the watering can indoors and carry it outdoors that that means it doesn't fall under the conditions of the bylaw… however, upon reading the full text of the bylaw just now (or at least Part 7, the relevant section), it seems that even carrying water from inside to outside is against the rules because the limitation is on "use of water externally", not using "external water", which is sort of how I'd always read it.

    One question I do have, though, since I also use the cast-off water from my fish tanks to water my plants, but it's not water that I've collected from rain, and therefore did come from the municipal water system originally, does that contravene the bylaw? Does this mean I can only change the water in my fish tanks on even numbered days so that I don't have to dump that cast-off water down the drain (and waste its great nutrient content).

    Also, those of us who live in even numbered houses get ripped off… July 31st followed by August 1st anyone? Hmmm… not fair. :)

    • For watering the garden, there are some useful water conservation tips which include,

      To build the soil with mulch and compost is important to hold water and it prevents evaporation. We can also choose plants which consumes low amount of water.

  • With respect to the institutions watering their lawns, why do some of them water during the afternoon? It is supposed to be the worst time of day, as most of the water evaporates quickly before it is absorbed. If residents are encouraged to water between 5 and 10 am, then institutions and companies should also water during this time period to help with the water conservation effort.

  • I live in the west end, and I see my neighbours watering their lawns regularly (I also see them watering their *driveways* occasionally– what's the deal with that?). This really bothers me, because unless you are watering new sod, there's no need to water your lawn– it'll grow when there's water available. This is a luxury we can't afford anymore. So I think the bylaws should be changed so that watering (existing) lawns at *any time* is illegal. Unless of course you are using a rain barrel. And finally, vegetable gardens are of course different, they do need to be watered (but only in the morning or evening when there'll be the least amount of evaporation). There, my rant is over, and I feel much better :) Don't get me started on dandelion picking, weed whackers, and leaf blowing …

  • I just spoke with a very friendly, very helpful City of Kingston bylaw officer and he informed me that no, large institutions are NOT exempt from the summer watering bylaws. If you see someone watering who shouldn't be, you are encouraged to call the city to report it.

    • Keep your lawn greener when its dry by:

      ensuring 1 foot of moisture retentive soil
      cutting your lawn 3" Tall
      growing drought tolerant grass

      If you see an infraction of any city bylaws get a photo with date stamp if possible this is evidence to back up your accusations

      A water conservation garden grows at 1211 John counter and is open daylight hours for citizens and groups to learn how to garden more sustainably

  • wow.. this place is bylaw cheerleader central.
    watering one's garden plants should be allowed ANY time.
    These types of bylaws are unreasonable and their enforcement arbitrary & unfair.

    • Your reply sounds ripe of "entitlement", that everything and anything should be available at all times, and any quantity. That is BS. While we are fortunate to live in a place on earth where water is much more readily available than other places, doesn't mean our/your generation should use it like it is an endless supply. It is a reasonable ByLaw, and partly helps ensure that widespread upgrades to the water supply infrastructure are not required to support the abuse of water use during the hottest times of the year.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!