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City seeks input about outdoor water restrictions

Local residents and businesses will get a chance next year to tell city hall what they think of the city’s bylaw that restricts outdoor water use during dry periods.
“During last summer’s drought, many community stakeholders expressed concern over the current bylaw restrictions under the outside water use program, as well as the relevance of some permitted watering activities in reference to current social norms and practices,” Wayne Galliher, the city’s water conservation project manager, said in a news release.
“A review and update of the bylaw and program allows us to consult with community members and stakeholders regarding the city’s response to future drought conditions,” he said. “By doing so, we can ensure the program continues to protect Guelph’s precious groundwater resources.”
Since the program and bylaw came into effect in 2003, peak daily water use has dropped in Guelph, the release said. Peak seasonal water-use demand is experienced only on a few days a year, and reducing peak use extends the sustainability of local groundwater resources while deferring the need for investment in new water infrastructure, it said.
It’s expected the bylaw review, which will include recommendations to council for amendments, will be done by the spring. The city will also initiate an update of Guelph’s water supply master plan in 2013, with changes to the outside water use program and bylaw feeding directly into the update.

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