Water Conservation

Cochrane is committed to environmental leadership in the community and has a sustainability plan to guide our work and policies.

The town's Water Utility Bylaw includes details about hydrants, utility accounts, rates and billing, water conservation (including time-of-day watering restrictions), plumbing fixtures, water quality and bulk water, among other things. Since water conservation was included in the bylaw in 2004, Cochranites have reduced their average water consumption from 243 to 189 litres each day.

Outdoor Watering Restrictions

Noncompliance may result in prosecution.

Level One: Limited Outdoor Use - In Effect Year Round
You may water outside between 5-10 am or 7 pm -1 am ONLY. Remember that established lawns only need one inch (2.5 cm) of water per week, which is enough to fill an average Frisbee.
More water tips:
  • Water your flower beds and vegetable gardens by hand with a watering can or hose nozzle with trigger control.
  • Use surface and underground sprinklers for no more than 15 minutes per section of lawn. If water is running onto the street, shut it off.
  • Children may use sprinklers, pools, and water toys at any time during the day. Shut off water when they are not using them.
The Town of Cochrane must approve all requests for site and condition-specific irrigation (see details for new sod below) and all irrigation schedules for parks and ball fields.

In the event of declining and unrecoverable treated water storage volumes (i.e. a mechanical breakdown at the Water Treatment Plant) the Town of Cochrane may increase the Water Restriction to a Level 2 or 3.  A higher restriction would help to ensure water storage levels are protected until the problem is resolved.  The priority would be to maintain water supply for indoor use, maintain fire protection storage in the water distribution system and to replenish reservoir storage volumes. 

Level Two: Mostly Prohibited Outdoor Use
You may not use water outside. Allow your lawn to go dormant. Do not wash your vehicle, sidewalk, windows, or siding.
Exceptions to this rule are:
  • Water your flower beds and vegetable gardens by hand with a watering can or hose nozzle with trigger control.
Limited site and condition-specific watering by commercial or institutional operations using metered hand watering or continually-monitored irrigation systems to establish and protect new plants and sod may be permitted by Town staff.

Level Three: Outdoor Water Use is Prohibited
Do not use water outside. Water pressure will be reduced as required, as approved by the Cochrane Fire Department.
No bulk water sales will be allowed. Level three restrictions will be strictly enforced. Learn to use water wisely by collecting rainwater in a barrel or cistern and selecting drought tolerant plants. Conservation measures and sensible water use may avoid level two and level three restrictions.

To protect potable water treatment and fire hydrant pressure, level two and three restrictions are imposed by the province and the town through our water license conditions. We must all comply with the law. Help conserve water for everyone.

Non-compliance may result in prosecution.
(As per Town of Cochrane Water Utility Bylaw 04/2013)

New Sod & Naturescaping
The following are watering instructions for new sod:
  • Water the site about 24 hours before your sod arrives to store moisture in the soil and ensure the topsoil is not too wet for the crew to walk on.
  • On the day the sod is laid, water it thoroughly in the evening between 7 pm and 1 am. Stop watering once the water begins to run off. New sod needs frequent, light watering to help establish the root system.
  • On day two, water again in the morning and evening (during watering hours only).
  • On the morning of day three, lift a corner of the sod to see if it is still moist underneath. If moist, wait until the evening water hours to water again. If dry, water during morning watering hours.
  • For the next few days, water only once a day during watering hours to encourage deep root growth.
  • For the next two weeks, water only as needed depending on the weather and watering restrictions.
  • After three weeks, the sod should be established. Deep water once a week during watering hours only.
  • Comply with Outdoor Water Conservation Measures.
If you have questions, call the water conservation staff at 403-851-2280. When establishing a new lawn you may occasionally need to water outside of the watering hours, which requires a watering permit from the Town of Cochrane. Call 403-851-2280 for details. Cochrane’s Land Use Bylaw requires naturescaping in a minimum of 25-50% of all new residential greenspace and in 100% of commercial greenspace. Naturescaping uses native plants with lots of mulch and other permeable or pervious surfacing material to reduce water use. Expand your naturescape every season until you have very little lawn to water and cut. Imagine the time, money, and water you will save!

Water Conservation Rebates
Find out about the rebates the Town of Cochrane offers to encourage you to save even more water, inside and out (conditions apply).

Low-Flow Fixture Building Code
In response to advancements in toilet technology, the Town of Cochrane Water Utility Bylaw has been updated. The dual-flush toilet requirement for all new residential and non-residential construction has been replaced with the requirement that flush toilets not exceed 4.8 litres (1.28 gallons) per flush, regardless if they are of the single flush or dual flush variety.

Single Family Water Rate
Cochrane's three-tier water rate ensures that the more water you consume, the more you pay for your total consumption:
  • 0 to 25 cubic metres - $1.16 per cubic metre
  • 26 to 60 cubic metres - $1.56 per cubic metre
  • Over 60 cubic metres - $2.30 per cubic metre