Green lawn is a scarlet letter

Watering ban being enforced by cities as sources dry up

Lawn watering cheaters in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are going to be seeing more enforcement from city hall.

Staff in Maple Ridge are already hearing from people who are letting their lawns turn brown, while their neighbours run sprinklers under the cover of darkness to keep their turf lush.

“If you see people watering, give us a call,” said Fred Armstrong, the city’s manager of corporate communications.

That’s the message city hall is sending the public, starting this week.

“People are resentful that their neighbour is running a sprinkler every night during the watering restrictions,” Armstrong added.

He also said that homeowners in some neighbourhoods appear to be competitive with other properties for the quality of their lawn and landscaping.

“It’s like lawn wars.”

But sinking water levels means now is not the time.

May and June set records for hot, dry weather in southwestern B.C., and there has been little precipitation so far this month.

Under the Stage 2 watering restrictions now in effect, lawns can be watered from 4-9 a.m. on Mondays for even numbered addresses, and during the same hours on Thursdays for odd numbered addresses.

Hand watering for vegetable gardens and shrubs is allowed.

A call to city hall will not result in an immediate fine, he explained. The first visit will likely be from city operations staff, who will turn off a faucet, drop off a notice of the lawn watering restrictions, and record the address.

A subsequent complaint could result in fines, depending on the infraction.

Maple Ridge bylaws has not yet issued fines for watering infractions, and is still at the stage where it is issuing warnings from operations staff and bylaws officers.

Armstrong said most hardware stores sell inexpensive timers that will allow people to start sprinkling their lawns at 4 a.m.

He noted that recent rains were too small to make a difference in watering restrictions.

“It would have to be a tropical rainstorm to move the needle.”

In Pitt Meadows, enforcement began at 6 a.m. every day last week, and bylaw officer Lesley Elchuk is handing out citations.

In the first week, she issued five fines for $200, and 71 warnings. She issued 20 warnings on Friday alone.

“She’s doing a lot of proactive work,” said city engineering services coordinator Ike deBoer.

Elchuk is spotting the violations, rather than responding to public complaints, said deBoer.

“There haven’t been too many people tattling on their neighbours, yet.”

Elchuk could pull the plug on the city’s overflowing water use statistics.

According to Metro’s numbers, Pitt Meadows has some of the highest water usage in the region. Delta tops the list at 632 litres of water per person, per day. Belcarra is the lowest at 170 litres. And Pitt Meadows uses the third most of any municipality in the region, and 508 litres. Maple Ridge is in the middle of the pack, at 408.

DeBoer explained that Pitt’s numbers are skewed because some of that water is used for agricultural irrigation in the farm community.

Many farmers use water pumped from the Katzie Slough for irrigation, but some use potable water out of the city system.

 

Just Posted

Maple Ridge second lowest for number of ODs

Coroner’s stats in for third quarter of the year

Flames lose at home, win in Mission

Host Kodiaks on Friday night

Weavers and spinners to kick off holiday shopping

The Whonnock Weavers and Spinners’ 38th annual exhibit and sale takes place Nov. 25

Strong support for Pitt Meadows transportation projects

Overpass/underpass projects get majority support

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead in Maple Ridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

UPDATE: IHIT confirms identity of Hells Angels homicide victim

Chad John Wilson was one of four men arrested in Spain in 2013 on allegations of smuggling cocaine.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

The latest advent calendar trend: Holiday cannabis

A Canadian company is giving people from coast to coast a new way to celebrate the Christmas countdown.

Most Read