The City of Calgary is restricting its water use and encouraging residents to do so as well after assessing the current drought risk.

And a growing yard trend is helping people cut back.

The city moved its drought monitoring dial from “normal” to “dry” conditions based on its ongoing monitoring of precipitation levels, reservoirs and lake levels, stream flow rates in rivers and water demand.

“This movement from ‘normal’ to ‘dry’ conditions is being proactive,” said Sarah Marshall, water resources planner for the City of Calgary.

The city is now lowering its water use in various ways, including cutting back on watering flowers, parks and sports fields, limiting the use of decorative fountains and not washing city vehicles as often.

There are no mandatory restrictions for Calgarians at this point but everyone can play a part in trying to keep it that way.

“Water restrictions may be required if our actions today are not sufficient to protect water supply and ensure it supports our needs and protects environmental health,” Marshall said.

Calgary communities use up to 50 per cent more water in the summer because of outdoor watering.

You can avoid evaporation by watering lawns early in the morning or late in the evening and leaving your grass two to three inches high.

Succulents, shrubs and flowers native to the Prairies have filled Kath Smyth’s yard for about a decade, ever since she decided to get rid of her lawn.

“I hate cutting grass,” Smyth said with a chuckle.

She does not spend as much time doing yard work or as much money on her water bill.

Landscaping companies say more Calgarians are replacing traditional lawns with drought-resistant plants or hard surfaces such as tile.

Most people are choosing it because it’s less work to maintain but it also saves water and money.

“It costs at least $300 a month to cut your grass. To weed once a month, about $60,” said Eric Coates with Mirage Landscaping.

He said about 20 per cent of customers are asking about the landscaping style, which also goes by the name xeriscaping.

“Over the years, it’s becoming more of a trend,” he said.

city-of-calgary-is-cutting-back-on-water-use-1-6497671-1690512911631.jpg” alt=””/>Succulents, shrubs and flowers native to the Prairies have filled Kath Smyth’s yard for about a decade, ever since she decided to get rid of her lawn.

It’s a trend Smyth advocates because it leaves her more time to enjoy her garden.

“Sitting in the sun reading a book — to me, that’s what gardening is all about,” she said.

Another tip to reduce your water bill is to take full advantage of Mother Nature by placing a rain barrel under your downspout, which can then be hooked up to a hose.

For more tips and details on drought conditions, you can check out calgary.ca/water/programs/drought.html?redirect=/droughtinfo.

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