GRCA urges residents to cut water usage by 10 per cent

A sign is seen outside the Grand River Conservation Authority's administration centre on Friday, June 5, 2015. (Frank Lynn / CTV Kitchener)

Dry weather is prompting the Grand River Conservation Authority to ask the region to be water conscious – including a voluntary 10 per cent reduction in water usage.

The call for the reduction came from the Grand River Low Water Response Team, which held a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

The team is made up of representatives of major water users, including municipalities, farmers, golf course operators, water bottlers, aggregate businesses and others.

The Low Water Response Team decided to place the entire watershed at Level 1 under the Ontario Low Water Response Program.

Level 1 results in a request for a voluntary 10 per cent reduction in water consumption by all water users, including municipalities, aggregate operations, golf courses, water bottlers, farms for irrigation and private users.

For residents, the GRCA said the most effective thing they can do right now is to follow their municipal outdoor water use bylaws, which limit watering to specific days and times.

Low rainfall since April has contributed to reduced stream flows in several tributaries throughout the watershed, and the Grand River Conservation Authority is using its large upstream reservoirs to increase river flows on the Grand and Speed rivers.

“The Grand River watershed received very little rainfall in June, which has further contributed to the dry conditions. There is some rain in the forecast," said Stephanie Shifflett, GRCA water resources engineer. "However, anticipated precipitation amounts remain quite low. The dry conditions combined with diminishing river and stream flows can place stress on the natural environment in the Grand River and its tributaries.”

The GRCA’s said its large reservoirs are within their normal operating range for this time of year, howeverm, high evaporation and low inflows mean water levels will continue to drop.

For more information visit the GRCA website.