June 28, 2002

York Region moves to harmonize outdoor water use bylaws

NEWMARKET York Regional Council today approved a motion requesting the area municipalities to revise their bylaws restricting outdoor water use to provide consistency throughout York Region.

York Region is responsible for maintaining and supplying drinking water to the municipalities, but each municipality enforces its own water use bylaws. A harmonized bylaw will help maintain water levels should reservoir and aquifer levels drop over the summer months. In addition, such harmonization would remove public confusion over differing standards in each area municipality.

"Protection of our groundwater resources is essential to ensure a safe and plentiful supply of water for our growing region," said Bill Fisch, Regional Chair and CEO. "A consistent municipal water use bylaw, especially during peak summer months, will help to achieve this goal."

The request for a harmonized bylaw followed recommendations detailed in a report from a Waterworks Liaison Committee. That group consisted of Regional staff and representatives of the water services from each area municipality.

Recommendations for the report include:

Council's motion recommends water use restrictions follow a three-stage approach based on a minimum acceptable water level: 1) outdoor water use advisory, 2) outdoor water use ban and 3) non-essential use restrictions. The report also recommends a unified penalty system with a maximum fine of $5,000 for bylaw violations levied under the Provincial Offences Act.

Newmarket Regional Councillor Diane Humeniuk applauded the move towards a harmonized set of water use bylaws. "Protection of our natural resources is essential to maintaining healthy communities. Municipalities working together on managing water use will help ensure that these resources are protected."

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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