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Lots of warnings, but water restrictions result in just one ticket so far

CIty says most people comply once made aware of the by-law
20160708 sprinkler ts

City by-law enforcement officers have been kept busy investigating complaints about people violating the current Level 2 Red outside water restrictions.

But as of noon Friday there has only been one ticket issued for non-compliance and another is pending.

Under Level 2, people are not allowed to water lawns or wash vehicles. Watering flower gardens is to be done on alternate days.

The first six months of this year saw 30 complaints regarding outside water use. Since the city went to Level 2 Red three days ago they has investigated 53 complaints, said Doug Godfrey, the city's Manager of By-Law, Compliance and Security.

Without being specific, Godfrey said a $130 ticket would likely only be issued as the result of someone being a repeat offender after they had been informed of the by-law.

Things could get worse before they get better. Environment Canada is calling for less than one millimetre of rain for Guelph over the next four days, with temperatures reaching daytime highs of between 25 C on Saturday and 30 C on Tuesday.

Complaints come in to the city via phone, online or through the 311 interactive map on the city's web site and available through an app, where people can report by-law infractions and follow the progress of that report.

By-law officers are also being proactive, stopping and informing people of the ban if they see someone not complying.

"Most people comply once they are made aware of the regulations and by-law," Godfrey said. "For the most part, education is sufficient.

"When education fails, staff looks at other options."

They also monitor businesses, and Godfrey said the only issues in that regard have been when timed sprinkler systems hadn't been turned off.

The city has three mobile by-law enforcement officers on in the daytime and two in the evening.

The water ban does not affect watering trees or food gardens, sprinklers, splash pads, swimming pools or garden ponds. Decorative fountains must be using recirculated water.

Level 2 takes effect when one or more of the following are met: precipitation less than 60 per cent of historical average, three weeks without rain, Eramosa River flow less than 50 per cent of minimum low flow, water storage level less than 65 per cent of average.