Water concerns come early in season for village of Montrose

After a spike in water usage last weekend, Montrose is down to one temporary water pump.

The Village of Montrose is down to one temporary water pump, so residents really need to be water- wise, said acting Mayor Don Berriault at Montrose council Tuesday night.

His comment followed the first, second and third reading of bylaw 702, titled the  “2013 Water Conservation and Staging Restrictions Regulations Bylaw.”

Council carried a motion at the request of Kevin Chartres, chief administrative officer, to enable staff with the authority to enact various stages of water restrictions at their discretion.

“We want to think proactively,” explained Coun. Cook.

“If we are using a lot of water, restrictions may need to be enacted well before our next meeting, which is weeks away.”

Chartres explained that the warm and dry weather last weekend, did result in an increase in water usage.

“All it takes is a few nice days, with residents out washing cars and hosing driveways,” said Chartres.

“The village is allowed to use seven million imperial gallons of water a month, and in one day alone, 113,000 gallons were used.”

Chartres further explained that with both village pumps in Vancouver, and the water capacity of only one well; stage one restrictions will need to be imposed.

Even though Montrose is on year-round (conservative) water restrictions, a progression to Stage 1, will mean reduced underground sprinkling time from four hours to two hours per night; and lawn and garden sprinkling time from two hours twice a day, to one hour in the morning and one hour at night.

“The thing is, there is no reason to water grass in April, so I think we could ban lawn watering entirely until May,” added Chartres.

After the meeting, Coun. Berriault talked about the history of water restrictions in Montrose.

He was on council in the late 1980’s when, former Coun. Mario Mackeri began what was then called,

“Energy Conservation and Education.”

“Before that time, we allowed watering everyday,” he explained. “Basically it was a free-for-all, because water was considered a renewable resource.

“However, sometimes the pump was running up to 18 hours a day, and the cost was very high,” said Berriault.

He said that back then, the village was looking for ways to save costs, when, forward-thinking Mackeri came up with the initiative.

“Back then, we didn’t call it “restrictions” because that had a negative connotation,” said Berriault.

“I am not sure it was appreciated any better, so now we call it what it is,” he laughed.