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Stage 4 Outdoor water restriction in effect

Due to ongoing drought conditions, Calgary is continuing to experience water shortages. Please stop all outdoor water use immediately to help us reduce demand for water.

These restrictions apply to all residences and businesses along with City of Calgary operations. Violations of these restrictions may lead to fines starting at $3,000.

This water restriction is temporary, but critical. We must limit our water usage to ensure we can meet essential needs, like that for drinking water and firefighting.

Stage 4 Water restrictions


Not allowed during the water restrictions:

  • Watering lawns, gardens, trees and shrubs by any method
  • Filling outdoor pools or hot tubs
  • Washing outdoor surfaces, including:
    • Windows
    • Exterior building surfaces
    • Sidewalks, driveways or walkways
  • Filling fountains or decorative water features
  • Washing your car in the driveway or street
  • Using water for construction purposes such as grading, compaction or dust control

Want to do more?

You can help reduce your indoor water use by:

  • Using the dishwasher and washing machine only when required and with full loads
  • Turning off humidifiers and ice machines
  • Scraping your plate clean rather than rinsing off food
  • Washing vegetables and fruit in a partially filled sink or pot and then rinse them quickly
  • Keeping a jug of drinking water in your fridge. Don’t run the tap to get ice-cold water
  • Turning off the tap when brushing teeth or shaving
  • Limiting showers to five minutes or less and keeping baths shallow


 Frequently asked questions

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Calgary is in a drought and The City is experiencing water shortages due to the hot and very dry conditions.

Unfortunately, the current outdoor water restrictions have not resulted in enough water reduction, so The City is escalating outdoor water restrictions to Stage 4, which is part of a comprehensive four-stage water response plan to help manage the demand. This will help ensure that we have enough water to meet all of Calgary’s essential needs, such as water for drinking and firefighting. Please note the quality of your drinking water remains high; this is an issue of quantity, not quality.

Many factors are taken into consideration when deciding to put water restrictions into effect. City staff examine our water supply, including if there is a fire risk in our watersheds that could affect the quality, what our current and projected water demand is in Calgary and amongst other large water uses on the Bow River, weather forecasts and if there is any construction and maintenance that is happening with our infrastructure.

Reducing outdoor water use is the single biggest thing Calgarians can do during this time to reduce the strain on our water supply since outdoor watering can increase your water use by up to 30-40 per cent in the summer.

These restrictions, as stated in the Water Utility Bylaw, have been issued effective [INSERT DATE HERE] until further notice. This City is continuously monitoring water usage closely to determine the necessary restriction.

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During these dry, hot conditions, it’s normal for grass to go dormant (brown). Most grass will recover and become green again when we receive a good rainfall and the right temperature returns.

There are a few things you can do to help keep your lawn healthy and reduce watering needs.

  • Keep your grass three inches long. Longer grass keeps roots cool helping your lawn handle drought and severe heat.
  • Leave your grass clippings on the lawn, which returns nutrients to the soil and keeps moisture in.
  • Don’t mow your grass in the middle of the day when the sun is hot. Lawns cut short in the summer heat can get stressed out and become diseased.
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The Stage 4 water restriction is temporary, but critical. We must limit our water usage to ensure we can meet essential needs, like that for drinking water and firefighting.

During ongoing drought conditions, The City is monitoring water usage closely to determine what level of restriction is necessary. Some level of outdoor water restriction will likely remain in place until significant rainfall occurs that will recover river flows and reservoir levels.

Once we have established usage that is within the normal range of consumption and reservoirs are stabilizing, outdoor water use restrictions can be de-escalated.


Bylaw exceptions and enforcement

Exceptions for businesses

The following outdoor water use is allowed for health and safety reasons or for core business needs:

  • Watering plants, shrubs and trees for commercial sale
  • Washing outdoor surfaces for childcare facilities, restaurants, kennel and animal care facilities
  • Washing of vehicles to follow health and safety regulations
  • Businesses that have a license to operate exterior window washing services and car washes

How are watering restrictions enforced?

While The City strives to take an education-first approach with citizens, it’s important that all Calgarians do their part. Therefore, there are penalties for violations that depend on the stage of water restriction.

Violations during Stage 4 restrictions may lead to fines starting at $3,000. All fines are listed in the Water Utility Bylaw. 

Where can I report violations to the watering restrictions?

If you know your neighbour, you may want to make them aware of the outdoor water restrictions.

Otherwise, please contact 311 so Bylaw Officers can follow-up to investigate the situation.


Stay informed

The City is constantly monitoring water usage closely to determine the restrictions necessary and will advise residents and businesses if there are any changes.