The Regional Municipality Of York


Conserving Water For Tomorrow

Conserving water is important for our communities. It helps to protect our environment, our water resources and saves energy. Since 1998, residents, businesses and local governments have saved 26 million litres of water each day. That would be enough water for 126,000 people.

York Region’s Water for Tomorrow program offers education and programs for residents as well as rebates on selected water-saving appliances for businesses. Learn more about what York Region residents and Water for Tomorrow have accomplished.

Outdoor Water Use Bylaw Information

Get Familiar With Your Outdoor Water Use Bylaw

Outdoor water use can account for a lot of water consumption during the summer months. Each municipality of York Region has an Outdoor Water Use Bylaw. Check your local municipality's Outdoor Water-Use Bylaw before using water for lawns and gardens.

All local municipalities state that houses with odd numbers may only use municipal water out-of-doors on odd numbered days of the month and even house numbers on even numbered days of the month. Time of day for watering and watering of new plantings varies between municipalities. Please refer to your municipalities’ website for your area’s Outdoor Water-Use Bylaw.

To help save yourself some water and money, consider the following tips:

  • Taking your car to a commercial car wash instead of washing it in the driveway can save a lot of water and prevent chemicals and pollutants from entering our storm sewers
  • If you have to wash your car at home, using a bucket and sponge can save approximately 300 litres of water per wash
  • Using a pool cover regularly can save about 50 per cent of your pool water volume from evaporating
  • Checking your pool and hoses for leaks regularly can reduce the chance for water to be lost due to leaks
  • Sweeping your driveway instead of washing it can save about 35 litres of water per minute

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Tips for Watering Lawns and Gardens

Maintenance Tips For a Healthy Lawn

  • Aerate every other fall to limit soil compaction, increase water absorption and help to reduce thatch
  • Top dress every spring or fall with compost; rake into the lawn to a depth of half an inch
  • Over-seed every spring or fall with a grass seed high in fescue content (at least 60 per cent) and low in Kentucky Blue content (20 per cent at the most)
    • Fescue grasses have fine blades that are drought and disease resistant due to their deep rooting system
    • Kentucky Blue grass which is the only grass found in sod, has the shallowest root system and is therefore the type of seed that is the weakest, most water dependent and most susceptible to disease
  • Mowing height should be six centimetres to eight centimetres to shade roots and prevent weed seed germination
  • Fertilize every fall with compost to give your lawn the nutrients it needs to make it through the winter
  • Watch Be Water Smart video - Lawn Maintenance Tips

Watering Tips For a Healthy Lawn and Garden

Your lawn and garden may not need as much water as you think. Follow these tips to keep your lawn and garden healthy while saving water at the same time:

  1. Use a watering gauge to measure the amount of water that is applied to your lawn and garden through rainfall and water only when needed
  2. Water once a week to encourage deep, strong root growth and ensure your lawn can better cope with the hot, dry weather of summer only if there hasn't been a significant amount of rainfall (Watch Be Water Smart video - Lawn Watering Tips)
  3. Water your grass in the early morning when the sun is lowest; watering while the sun is low ensures water gets to the roots instead of evaporating
  4. Avoid evening or overnight watering as this creates cool, moist conditions which can lead to problems with disease and insects
  5. If using a sprinkler, choose a water-efficient sprinkler that shoots low to the ground; oscillating sprinklers lose more water to evaporation and wind drift
  6. If you have an in-ground irrigation system, consider calling a Water Smart Irrigation Professional (above) to ensure your system is running efficiently
  7. Consider using a rain barrel as a source of water for your flowers and vegetables rather than tap water (Watch Be Water Smart video - Rain barrel Tips)
  8. Learn more about your local Outdoor Water-Use Bylaw
  9. Watch Be Water Smart video - Mulch Tips
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Tips for Conserving Water in the Home

How to Conserve Water Inside The Home

Toilet Leak Test

A leaking toilet can waste a great deal of water (up to 200,000 litres per year) but can go almost unnoticed. Unlike other leaks, there is often little to no sound associated with the leak. To find out if the toilet(s) in your home are leaking, perform this simple test:

  1. Add a few drops of food colouring or a toilet leak tablet to the tank
  2. Wait 15 minutes
  3. Check the bowl for colour
  4. Watch Be Water Smart video - Toilet Tips

If the colour has seeped into the bowl without flushing, there is an internal leak that needs fixing.

Whole Home Leak Test

A whole home leak test can be done to check if there are any large leaks or a few smaller leaks in your home. To do this test, follow the steps below:

  1. Turn off all water-using fixtures and appliances (including small ones like water softeners and water filters)
  2. Record water meter reading
  3. Wait 15 to 30 minutes and make sure no one uses any water in this time period
  4. Record water meter reading

If the number has gone up, you may have a large leak or a couple of smaller leaks requiring further investigation and repair as soon as possible.

Flow Rate Test

Do you know how much water your faucets and showerheads are using? It’s an easy test:

  1. Collect the water coming out of your tap for 10 seconds
  2. Measure the volume of water collected
  3. Multiply the volume by six

This is how much water your faucet or showerhead is using every minute. If your showerhead is using more than 9.5 litres of water, you should consider replacing your fixture. Major water-savings are possible with a simple fixture upgrade. Low-flow showerheads, using 7.57 litres per minute, use up to 60 per cent less water than a standard showerhead while still retaining strong water pressure.

Easy Water Saving Tips

Bathroom and Kitchen

  • Turn the tap off while you brush your teeth; you can save up to 16 litres of water each time
  • Fill the sink rather than letting the water run while shaving, washing vegetables or cleaning dishes by hand
  • Keep a cold jug of water in the fridge or use a few ice cubes to cool your water instead of running the tap until the water is cold
  • Use the green bin and garbage can for used tissues and dental floss; not only will this save water from unnecessary flushes, these bulky items are not good for sewage systems as floss can get wrapped around pump propellers and excessive facial tissues can cause clogging due to their thickness and additives like lotion
  • If doing the dishes by hand, fill the sink with water to rinse
  • Watch Be Water Smart videos - Kitchen Tips | Saving Water In Your Bathroom | Water Saving Shower Tips


  • Do not pre-rinse before placing them in the dishwasher, instead scrape food into your green bin
  • Only run the dishwasher with a full load
  • Ensure that all dishes are angled so that the water can reach them to avoid having to rewash them

Washing Machines

  • Wait until you have a full load of laundry before you wash your clothes
  • Use the correct setting for large, medium and small loads
  • Pre-treat stains to avoid rewashing
  • If you need a new washing machine, consider a water-efficient clothes washer; they can reduce water consumption by 35 to 50 per cent when compared to older non-efficient models.
  • The most common water-efficient clothes washer is the ENERGY STAR® qualified front loading model
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Water Smart Irrigation Program for Residential Properties

What is a Water Smart Irrigation Professional (WSIP)?

Water Smart Irrigation Professionals are certified by Landscape Ontario in partnership with The Regional Municipality of York, Peel Region and the City of Hamilton.  A Water Smart Irrigation Professional is an irrigation contractor with specialized training. They are leaders in the irrigation industry and can help you increase the health and beauty of your landscape while using less water.

A Water Smart Irrigation Professional will:

  • Help you achieve curb appeal by using efficient irrigation systems and practices
  • Provide you with a custom assessment of your property’s water needs
  • Schedule your system to provide the right amount of water needed to maintain healthy landscape
  • Reduce you water waste

Certified Water Smart Irrigation Professionals

Book a personalized consultation today by contacting one of the following certified companies:

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