Bashaw town council, pondering the likelihood of drought this coming spring and summer, reviewed their local rules for water conservation and restrictions. 

The water restriction bylaw was reviewed at the Jan. 17 regular meeting of council.

Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller provided councillors with the bylaw approved in 2018 that acknowledges the town is supplied with water through the Hwy. #12/21 Water Commission from the Town of Stettler water plant and which will govern how drought conditions are handled by the town.

“The water treatment plant presently produces potable water for all commissions and all consumers that is delivered to consumers through any or all of the water transfer station, a commission-owned water transmission line/reservoir, a municipality’s water distribution system/reservoir, a bulk water station or any other connection to the water treatment plant,” stated the water restriction strategies section of the bylaw.

“At times where drought conditions exist in east central Alberta, or as otherwise determined by Stettler which conditions affect the overall water supply that Stettler can distribute to all commissions and consumers, including the municipality, Stettler may…assist all commissions and consumers by providing information that encourages water conservation or manage the overall supply of water produced by the water treatment plant in order to comply with the requirements by all water commissions and consumers in the region.”

In a phone call to the ECA Review newspaper Jan. 19 the CAO noted councillors discussed the bylaw and also their desire for a public communications strategy when it comes to drought and possible water restrictions. 

Fuller noted councillors wanted to ensure Bashaw residents understand the drought threat and its possible effects on the town’s water supply.

As councillors discussed the issue some suggestions, such as asking residents to only use spray cans or only watering their properties on certain days, came up.

The bylaw notes that if the Town of Stettler issues a directive regarding water conservation or restriction, Bashaw’s CAO, through the bylaw, is to implement it, including immediately communicating to the public by appropriate means any restrictions in place.

The bylaw noted no consumers are allowed to use or waste water supplied by the municipal infrastructure mentioned above if that means going against any water restriction directive and the bylaw specifically mentioned “aesthetic purposes” as well.

It was noted the municipality can issue a “new lawn” permit that in effect acts as a waiver of water restrictions. It was further noted that restrictions can be issued in levels of severity according to the drought conditions themselves.

There is a separate section in the bylaw called “wasting water,” which states “All consumers are prohibited from wasting water when a directive restricting the supply of water has been issued.” 

According to the bylaw, the definition of “wasting water” may include volume of water used for a certain activity, length of time water runs and the degree of water restriction currently in place, among others.

The bylaw also features an enforcement section defining the laws under which a bylaw officer could issue an order against an offender. 

However, someone who receives such an order has some options open to them, including requesting a review of said order. It was also noted that imprisonment is not part of the water restriction bylaw.

Fuller noted though that during discussion councillors stated they preferred to communicate with the public about drought and possible water restrictions and to that end unanimously passed a resolution that town staff conduct a public awareness campaign regarding water restrictions, including details in Bashaw’s water restriction bylaw.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 31, 2024 at 13:10

This item reprinted with permission from   East Central Alberta Review   Coronation, Alberta

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