Water Conservation Guidelines

Water Conservation Guidelines are in effect from May 1 to October 1 each year to encourage residents to conserve water in day-to-day activities.
graphic telling you we are in Stage 1 of Water Conservation

Water conservation guidelines were introduced in 2018 with the goal of minimizing potable water use during warmer and drier times of the year. The program sets out water use standards for residential, commercial, industrial and institutional operations including City processes.

We are currently in Stage 1.

Stage 1: Help conserve water
Guidelines are voluntary

Stage 1 is activated automatically from May 1 to October 1 each year and indicates that there are no serious water shortage or river flow issues.

In Stage 1, compliance with guidelines is completely voluntary and rules are not enforced.

Watering ActivityStage 1 Guidelines (voluntary)
Lawn Watering
  • Restricted hours: no watering between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Even-numbered addresses may water on even days of the month during non-restricted hours as needed
  • Odd-numbered addresses may water on odd days of the month during non-restricted hours as needed
Artificial turf and outdoor tracks washing
  • Permitted if required for dust control and safety
Vehicle washing
  • Permitted, but car washes are recommended to ensure waste water is treated
Ponds, fountains, water parks and other water features
  • Restricted hours: no filling or refilling between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Even-numbered addresses may fill and refill on Mondays and Thursdays during non-restricted hours
  • Odd-numbered addresses may fill and refill on Tuesdays and Fridays during non-restricted hours
Cleaning outdoor surfaces, including pressure washing
  • No restrictions, but washing by a commercial cleaning service or hand washing are recommended
Stage 2: Reduce water use
Guidelines are enforced

Stage 2 is activated when the Red Deer River maintains a flow rate within the range of 16 to 18 cubic metres per second for one consecutive week.

In Stage 2, The City will investigate non-compliance of the guidelines and issue a letter concerning a customer's breach of the guidelines. The customer is given 14 days to resolve the action, after which point a fine will be issued if guidelines are not met.

Watering ActivityStage 2 Guidelines
Lawn Watering
  • Restricted hours: no watering between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Even-numbered addresses may water on even days of the month during non-restricted hours as needed
  • Odd-numbered addresses may water on odd days of the month during non-restricted hours as needed
*Customers that have newly-planted lawn are permitted to water on all days of the week, at any hour, for three weeks after lawn is planted.
Artificial turf and outdoor tracks washing
  • Permitted if required for dust control and safety
Vehicle washing
  • Permitted, but car washes are recommended to ensure waste water is treated
Ponds, fountains, water parks and other water features
  • Restricted hours: no filling or refilling between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Even-numbered addresses may fill and refill on Mondays and Thursdays during non-restricted hours
  • Odd-numbered addresses may fill and refill on Tuesdays and Fridays during non-restricted hours
Cleaning outdoor surfaces, including pressure washing
  • Washing for the purpose of aesthetic cleaning is not permitted
  • Only washing by a commercial cleaning service, or hand-washing to prepare a surface for painting or similar treatment, or if ordered by a regulatory authority
Stage 3: Reduce non-essential water use
Guidelines are enforced

Stage 3 is activated when the Red Deer River drops below a flow rate of 16 cubic metres per second for one consecutive week.

In Stage 3, The City will investigate non-compliance of the guidelines and issue a fine for the first offence. 

Watering ActivityStage 3 Guidelines
Lawn Watering
  • Restricted hours: no watering between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Even-numbered addresses may water on Mondays and Thursdays during non-restricted hours as needed
  • Odd-numbered addresses may water on Tuesdays and Fridays during non-restricted hours as needed
Tree, shrub, planter, ornamental garden, greenhouse and food/community garden watering
  • Restricted hours: no watering between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Even-numbered addresses may water on Mondays and Thursdays during non-restricted hours as needed
  • Odd-numbered addresses may water on Tuesdays and Fridays during non-restricted hours as needed
Artificial turf and outdoor tracks washing
  • Permitted if required for dust control and safety
Vehicle washing
  • Only permitted at commercial car washes
Ice rinks
  • No draining, flooding or refilling of new rinks
  • Flooding of existing rinks is permitted
Swimming pools and hot tubs
  • No draining or refilling permitted
  • Topping off is permitted
Ponds, fountains, water parks and other water features
  • No filling or refilling permitted
  • Topping off is permitted
Cleaning outdoor surfaces, including pressure washing
  • Washing for the purpose of aesthetic cleaning is not permitted
  • Only washing by a commercial cleaning service, or hand-washing to prepare a surface for painting or similar treatment, or if ordered by a regulatory authority
Stage 4: Emergency water shortage: stop non-essential water use
Guidelines are enforced

Stage 4 is activated as directed by Alberta Environment and Parks, or in the event of an emergency.

In Stage 4, The City will investigate non-compliance of the guidelines and issue a fine for the first offence. 

Watering ActivityStage 4 Guidelines
Lawn Watering
  • No watering permitted
  • No new landscaping may be planted
  • No watering exemptions are permitted
Tree, shrub, planter, ornamental garden, greenhouse and food/community garden watering
  • No watering permitted
  • No new landscaping may be planted
Artificial turf and outdoor tracks washing
  • No watering permitted
Vehicle washing
  • No washing permitted
  • All commercial car washes are shut down
Ice rinks
  • No draining; flooding and refilling is permitted
Swimming pools and hot tubs
  • No draining; refilling or topping off permitted
Ponds, fountains, water parks and other water features
  • No filling, refilling or topping off permitted
Cleaning outdoor surfaces, including pressure washing
  • Washing not permitted unless ordered by a regulatory authority

Red Deer's drinking water comes from the Red Deer River and during periods of low rainfall, drought or emergency situations, we become vulnerable to potential water shortages. With this in mind, it is important that we conserve water and be proactive to help prevent serious water shortages in the future.

To report a violation of the above guidelines, please contact Environmental Services at 403-342-8750.

The Water Conservation guidelines support Section 42 of the Utility Bylaw and is enforced by The City's Environmental Services department.

View the full Water Conservation Guidelines (pdf)  document, including detailed information about fines and fees.