You can do a lot to reduce your water use just on your property. These include:
- Installing a rain barrel
- Connecting your gutters to a rain barrel allows you to collect rainwater, which can be used to water your plants. Plants prefer rainwater since it doesn’t contain chlorine and is at an ambient temperature.
- Ensures a regular supply of water for your plants, even in drier times, without putting extra stress on the local water infrastructure.
- Prevents water from flowing into storm drains and running into the road, which keeps it cleaner and helps avoid overloading the drainage network.
- make sure your barrel has a fine mesh covering the top to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the standing water.
- Make sure that your rain barrel is on a flat, stable surface, since they get very heavy when filled with water!
- Rain barrels can be purchased for less than 100$ at most hardware stores and many places online, or you can make your own
Adapting your plants to local conditions and climate
Soil type, sunlight, and climate all influence how well plants will thrive in your garden. Make sure you evaluate your property’s local conditions before deciding which plants to buy
Consider buying hardy, drought-tolerant plants: they require very little water and as a result, they will flourish even during dry summers. Note that grass is a resource-intensive crop, and allowing it to grow longer before mowing makes it less dependent on regular waterings.
Consider shade-giving plants: trees and vines provide shade that cools your property and reduces the amount of evaporation caused by direct sunlight.
Water in early morning or evening in accordance with bylaw 13-023 to reduce the amount of water wasted through evaporation.
Build a rain garden
Situated near your gutter outflow point and/or in a place where water tends to flow, a rain garden can catch and absorb more water than a traditional lawn.
Choose multiple types of native plants that enjoy wet soil, and plant them in a garden that is dug to be a shallow depression (native plants also help out local pollinators!).
Rain gardens can filter water, encourage the regeneration of the natural water table, and beautify lawns, while avoiding water runoff issues.
Water-friendly car wash
Hosing a car can use up to 400 L of water, whereas using a pail and sponge with a pistol grip nozzle can use as little as 100 litres.
Avoid washing your car during dry periods. Times of drought stresses water infrastructures, and extracting too much water from sources when they are at low periods can harm local biodiversity.
Covering your pool
Pool covers can substantially reduce the amount of water lost through evaporation. Note the regulations on pool filling in bylaw 13-023.
Disconnecting your gutters from the sewer system
If your roof is sloping, disconnect your gutters from the sewer system, and direct the water flow onto a permeable (i.e. natural) surface such as grass or a garden.
Extend the flow at least 1.5m from the house to prevent seepage into the foundations.
This will keep your lawn or garden regularly watered and healthy, while avoiding overloading the local drain system, particularly during times of heavy rain. Look into installing a “langue du chat” if you want the outflow to be more dispersed.
Be careful with fertilizer application
Apply nitrogen and phosphorus-rich fertilizers sparingly and avoid applying it before rainfall. Fertilizer runoff can drain into rivers, ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water. The accumulation of fertilizers stimulates algae growth, which can sometimes be toxic, and can lead to oxygen depletion which kills plants and fish in a process known as eutrophication.