Caution | Outdoor water restrictions in effect

Stage 3 outdoor water restrictions are in effect. Learn more about how City services are impacted and what you can do during this stage.

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Make every drop count in your yard

Here are some tips on how you can maintain a healthy yard when we are trying to conserve water use or during water restrictions. 

Yards and gardens


Basics

Do

Aim for a minimum of 8 inches of top soil to improve water absorption and drainage in your soils.

Do

Improve your soil’s moisture content by adding compost. For directions on how to apply compost in your yard, visit Compost.org

Do

Reduce evaporation by adding mulch, bark, wood chips or stones to your soil.

Water wise behaviours

Use rainwater collected from rain barrels and greywater collected from showers, baths, dishwashing or cooking to water your lawn, trees, and garden.

No rain barrel, no problem—use common household items like buckets, plastic storage bins and flowerpots! Find out how at greencalgary.org/blog/diy-rain-barrel.

If using rainwater for food plants, use the following precautions:

  • Make sure your barrels or water containers are clean.
  • Practice ‘base of plant’ watering – targeting plant roots rather than foliage.

If you’re using your rain barrel to water your lawn, attaching a hose or soaker-hose works best.

Place your rain barrel on a safe and secure raised platform so that gravity helps move water through the hose.

Water low and slow in your garden:

  • Use a watering can, or drip irrigation connected to your rain barrel to target the plant roots and only water as fast as the soil can absorb it.

Reduce evaporation by watering in the late evenings and early mornings. 

Only water when you need to:

  • Avoid watering if there’s rain in the forecast.
  • Use visual cues like wilting leaves or the plant reaching for the ground, and
  • Check for dry soil near the base of the plant.

Lawns


Lawns only need 1 inch (or 2.5 cm) of water per week during the summer months to remain green and grow actively. Make your lawn more resilient during water restrictions by following these tips:

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Keep your grass three inches long. Longer grass keeps roots cool helping your lawn handle dry conditions.

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Leave grass clippings on your lawn, which returns nutrients to the soil, discourages weeds and keeps moisture in.

Remember, during a hot, dry spell, grass may go dormant. Most grass will recover and become green again after a good rainfall.

For more information visit:

Trees


Trees provide numerous benefits to our city and we encourage Calgarians to prioritize the watering of trees during water restrictions. During Stage 3, we encourage you to use a bucket of water to water your trees. 

It’s important to still check for dry soil first, but generally, young trees (less than three years old) should be watered every week, while established trees can be watered once every two weeks.

Do

Focus your watering on the area under the drip line.

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Water slowly. Never apply water faster than your soil can absorb.

Do

Consider adding mulch to a depth of two inches to help the soil retain moisture.

Frequently asked questions


My grass is going brown, is it dead?

Grass will go dormant (brown) during a hot, dry spell. Lawns are amazingly resilient and can tolerate dry conditions for a long period of time. Most grass will recover and become green again when we receive a good rainfall and cooler temperatures returns.

If you can pull your grass out easily, or the brown colour is not uniform on your lawn (for example: there are distinct patches of brown) then your grass may be dead.

What is greywater?

Greywater is the untreated, non-disinfected household wastewater that does not include toilet waste. It may be sourced from showers, baths, cooking and dishwashing. 

Can I use greywater on my food plants?

Yes, it’s considered low risk to use greywater on food plants if it doesn’t touch the edible part of the plant. Use these precautions when watering your food plants with greywater:

  • Use a drip irrigation system or hand water the plant roots with a watering can. This is called ‘base of plant’ watering and will help to prevent possible contamination of above-ground fruits and vegetables
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables to remove as much contamination as possible.

What is drip irrigation?

Drip irrigation targets plant roots/soil and not the foliage of the plant, making it an efficient method of delivering water to plants that significantly reduces evaporation or water run-off. You can use drip irrigation with any water source, including rain barrels. Visit your local home and garden store, or shop online to purchase a drip irrigation kit. 

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