No more lawn watering for now: City’s outside water use program moves to level 2 red

Water decorative gardens 7-9 am and 7-9 pm on odd or even calendar dates by address number

Guelph, Ont., July 13, 2022 – In response to low river levels, increased water use and dry weather, the City is bumping watering restrictions up to level 2 red today.

At level 2 red:

  • lawn watering is not permitted
  • decorative gardens can only be watered between 7-9 am and 7-9 pm on odd or even calendar dates based on address number; odd numbered houses can water on odd numbered dates, and even numbered houses on even dates
  • no restrictions on watering food gardens and trees
  • at-home vehicle washing (cars, boats, trailers, etc.) is not permitted
  • decorative fountains must recirculate water or be turned off
  • garden or outdoor hoses in use must have a shut-off nozzle
  • wasting water, such as washing driveways, decks and sidewalks, is not permitted

The City will continue to monitor conditions and work with the Grand River Conservation Authority throughout the summer to decide if and when water use levels can or should change.

The City’s longstanding outside water use program was created to help conserve Guelph’s groundwater supply by managing water demands during peak periods and reducing non-essential use when the Grand River watershed is stressed.

Guelph is one of Canada’s largest cities relying on groundwater for its water supply. Groundwater sources are replenished by precipitation and we all must take extra care to use water wisely at all times, especially during drought-like conditions.

How to report a concern

To report a possible infraction of the outside water use program:

For reasons of privacy, please don’t post pictures of private property to social media to report an infraction. Calling or completing an online request are the fastest and most effective ways to report a concern.

In level 2 red, the outside water use program is actively enforced by the city’s bylaw officers. Bylaw officers will issue a fine or court summons for each observed infraction.

Lawn and garden care tips


  • Lawn grasses will stop growing in hot weather and should be allowed to go dormant
  • In severe drought and heat it’s better for your grass if you don’t mow it or walk on it
  • If you have to mow your lawn, set your mower blade to its highest setting and only cut your lawn when grass is 7.5 cm (3 inches) tall; this will help your grass grow stronger, deeper roots
  • With restrictions to lawn watering and challenging environmental conditions, the installation of new lawns by sod or seed should be delayed where possible until more favorable growing conditions are present


  • Use mulch in gardens to keep soil moist; add 7-10 cm (3-4 inches)
  • Use a soaker hose or watering can to water plants at their roots and reduce water lost to evaporation
  • Water first thing in the morning or later in the evening
  • Choose drought tolerant plants native to the area and only water plants to get them established
  • Plants will slightly wilt in the hot afternoon sun, if they don’t revive in the morning they may need to be watered

Want help with using less water for your lawn or garden? Sign up today for a Healthy Landscape visit!


Water conservation tips

Media contact

Mari MacNeil, Manager
Compliance and Performance Division, Environmental Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2284
[email protected]

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