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Watering schedule

Airdrie is currently under level four outdoor water restrictions. All outdoor water use is temporarily banned. Learn more

The Waterworks Bylaw (pdf) includes water restrictions that would only come into effect during a water shortage. Water shortages are classified into levels, which would trigger different types of restrictions. Residents and businesses would be notified through a variety of communication channels, such as social media and web, if a level two or three Water Use Restriction was declared.


The watering schedule is in place year round until restrictions are called

During level one a water shortage would be declared in for example: 

  • times of drought
  • emergency (e.g. floods in 2013)
  • distribution issues or infrastructure failure


During level two a water shortage would be declared in for example:

  • times of drought (increased impacts)
  •  emergency 
  • distribution issues or infrastructure failure

During a level three water shortage, Airdrie would be facing serious challenges in providing sufficient water supply.

This would usually affect a wider area than Airdrie.

During a level four water shortage,  Airdrie would be facing serious challenges in providing sufficient water supply.

At this point the province would likely be involved.

Water use exception permit

Did you just install new sod or grass seed to your entire front or back yard (does not apply to over seeding)? Or do you have a smart irrigation system? You may be eligible to use water outside of the watering schedule. There is no cost to obtain this permit.

What is smart irrigation?

Controllers that monitor conditions and adjust run times based on plant water requirements. This would include systems that can:

    • automatically adjust the schedule based on changing weather conditions
    • have rain sensors or moisture sensors at your property that automatically delay watering if rain is detected

If you think your irrigation system qualifies based on the above requirements, fill in the Water Exception Permit form. Please include the brand and model of your controller.

Sod 21 days
Seed 45 days
Smart Irrigation until Dec 31 each year

Water Use Exception Permit

Facts about the watering schedule

Why the odd and even system was chosen
The odd/even system allows us to balance the demand for water throughout the week. There are also an equal number of watering days in the month for each customer.

Why watering is not permitted on Fridays
Not permitting watering on Fridays gives the reservoirs a chance to replenish in preparation for the weekend, which is when the City experiences its highest demand.

Hand watering flowers, trees and shrubs 
Gardens, trees, shrubs and flowers can be hand watered any day in a level one, two or three but not during a level four water restriction.

Kiddie pool and sprinkler use for children
Yes, your kids can run through the sprinkler on any day during level one and two. It is not allowed during a level three or four water restriction.

What to do if you will not be home during the designated watering times
We’d recommend getting a water timer to put on your hose. You can get them at most hardware stores.

Tips to help grass thrive
Studies have shown that watering less creates stronger grass but some other tips for great grass are:

  • Only water when you need to. An established lawn only requires about one inch of water a week.
    TIP: place a Frisbee® upside down on the lawn and only water until it’s full.
  • Leave grass 3” long to prevent scorching and water evaporation
  • Grass-cycle – mulching leaves your grass clippings on the lawn, providing extra nutrients and helps to retain moisture.

Why limit water consumption?
Water is a finite resource that needs to be protected. The Bow Glacier that feeds the Bow and Elbow Rivers has experienced significant depletion over the past few decades. The City gets our water from Calgary, who sources it from these rivers. Watering during the scheduled times (early in the morning or late at night) will reduce evaporation and allow water to soak into the soil and reach grass and plant roots.

Fixed water rates
Your fixed service rate covers the water service to your home and maintenance of water service infrastructure so it doesn’t go down based on consumption. 

Other municipalities that have these types of restrictions
Okotoks and Vancouver have a seasonal watering schedule. Nanton and Cochrane have year-round watering schedules. Nanton and Okotoks are also based on the even/odd system.

Water schedule enforcement and complaints 
When the watering schedule was introduced in 2019 the focus was on educating residents about water conservation and the new Bylaw. Now, Municipal Enforcement officers will investigate situations based on complaints that are called in.

During times of restrictions, Municipal Enforcement will be provided a list of current water exception permits.

Why the City waters when it’s raining?
There are a few sites in Airdrie where stormwater is used to irrigate greenspaces, separate from the potable water irrigation system. These sites are not linked to rain sensors and may be irrigated during or immediately after rain. This can be an effective measure to prevent salt present in stormwater from building up in the soil to protect long-term soil quality. This may also occur if the amount of rain isn’t enough to trip the automatic settings in the park's smart irrigation system.

Flushing fire hydrants within the City
Water mains are flushed prior to restoring water services to residents. This process flushes sediment from the lines and is required by the Province. All publicly owned hydrants are flushed and tested in the spring by the Airdrie Fire Department (AFD) to meet the National Fire Protection Act standard.