Town asked to conserve water 0
STAFF PHOTO Mayor Bob Sweet is imploring residents to conserve water during the current county-wide drought crisis. Last week, the town reinforced the Level 2 drought declared for the region by the Ministry of Natural Resources.
PETAWAWA – Mayor Bob Sweet is imploring residents to conserve water during the current county-wide drought crisis.
Last week, the town reinforced the Level 2 drought declared for the region by the Ministry of Natural Resources based on data showing significantly lower than historical average rainfall amounts and surface water levels on lakes, rivers and streams.
Residents and businesses are voluntarily being asked to cut water usage by 20 per cent. However, Mayor Sweet warned that if the county moves to a Level 3 then the province may impose mandatory restrictions.
“This is a very serious situation and there seems to be no end in sight,” Mayor Sweet told a special meeting of council Monday. “This is not a rural thing or an urban thing, it’s a water issue. I am appealing to everyone to do their part to conserve as much water as possible.”
During the Level 2, Petawawa will no longer be issuing exceptions to the watering bylaw for newly seeded lawns or newly installed sod. Officials will not be issuing any new pool permits and residents are being asked to delay their applications until conditions improve and the declaration is lifted. Staff has also imposed a moratorium on the sale of bulk municipal water for construction.
The town’s watering bylaw remains in place, restricting watering to the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., every other day. If your address is an even number, you may water on even-numbered days of the month, likewise for odd-numbered addresses watering on odd-numbered days of the month. Fines will be issued for non-compliance.
While the water distribution plant is working to maximum capacity, chief administrative officer Mitch Stillman told council that private wells have run dry on Airport and Biesenthal roads. Those homeowners can draw water from the public works garage on Black Bay Road, however, they must provide their own means of hauling the water.
“We’ll never see anyone stuck,” said Mr. Stillman. “We’ll help people out, that’s for sure.”
Although he didn’t want to raise the alarm, Mayor Sweet said the town is nowhere near where it should be in terms of water reserve capacity to handle fire suppression.
“If we were to get a water break or we were to get a fire, the amount of water needed to contain that fire is very small,” he said.
The area has not had a major rainfall in 78 days and the forecast does not predict any large accumulation of rain in the near future, the mayor noted.
The town is asking residents to limit or eliminate lawn watering and car washing; take shorter showers, turn off the water while shaving and brushing teeth, use your clothes washer for only full loads and wash dishes by hand.
They further recommend that residents keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge, so as not to run the tap for cold water, place a two-litre plastic bottle filled with water in the toilet tank to reduce flow, and adjust your sprinklers so that the lawn is watered but not the driveway or the house.
Residents on private well systems should also take the necessary measures to reduce consumption and conserve water. Should problems arise concerning the availability of potable water from a private well, they are asked to contact the municipal office.
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist