Water restrictions implemented far earlier than normal in Merritt: mayor

The City of Merritt has brought in restrictions for watering lawns earlier in the season than usual due to concerns over weather conditions.

Mayor Mike Goetz told CityNews that restrictions are an annual occurrence, but limited winter snowpack has forced his city to enter a stage of regulations “far earlier” than is typical for this time of year.

“Traditionally, we don’t go into Level 3 [watering restrictions] until about the middle of July,” said Goetz. “But we’ve gone in a lot earlier this year, just because of the snowpack situation. And we want people to be on board with the fact that water restrictions are happening and that we need to be careful with our water.”

Goetz says he believes that the people of Merritt appreciate the precautions taken to preserve water for the summer months. Residents will still be able to water their lawns and gardens on specific days, according to their address number.

Watering for even numbered addresses is allowed on Thursdays and Sundays, while watering for odd numbered addresses is allowed on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Strata complexes and mobile home parks should water according to unit number.

The city says watering is allowed between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. or 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. by manual sprinkler, and 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. by automated irrigators.

Violation could result in water being shut off: mayor

Watering outside regulated times could result in a fine, but Goetz says Merritt’s director of public works has suggested instead that citizens who violate the restrictions could have their water shut off.

“We’ll still do the fine situation if we have to, but everyone [in violation] will get a warning letter,” said Goetz. “And if they continue to [violate restrictions] we’ll basically throttle their water down to the point where we may have to turn it off. And they may have to come into city hall and get their water turned back on at cost to them.”

Goetz said the people of Merritt know the value of water, and he does not suspect anyone will intentionally break restrictions.

“It’s a very precious commodity to have, and without it you don’t have a community.”