June 15, 2011
The City of Ottawa has placed an immediate ban on all outdoor watering in the communities of Barrhaven, Manotick and Riverside South.

The move has possible dire consequences for Ottawa area landscape companies.

The ban is a result of planned construction this summer to repair a major water main break back in January. The city is allowing use of water in homes, but the city council decided that outdoor water use will not be allowed until after the construction is complete. Initial estimates place that date sometime in August.

Ottawa members of Landscape Ontario are very concerned. Some members report that orders have already been cancelled. A recent survey revealed:
  • 74% of those who took the survey say they will be affected by the ban
  • 33.3% feel they will need to lay off staff
  • 76.2% feel customers will cancel work orders
  • 61.9% feel customers won't purchase plants, if they can't be watered  
A delegation from Landscape Ontario has met with the City of Ottawa to discuss ways to mitigate damage caused by the water ban. The group asked for an exemption for new plantings; support regarding the use of water trucks and the distribution of collapsible rain barrels. The city said it couldn’t exempt new plantings or introduce limited water use programs, the entire water capacity will be down to 10 per cent during the construction period.