It will come as no surprise that under the extreme heat wave and drought-like conditions facing the Nicola Valley, watering restrictions within the city of Merritt have been increased, effective 1:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 30.

“We’ve never seen temperatures this high at this time of year,” said Director of Corporate Services, Greg Lowis.

“To go along with the record temperatures, we are also seeing extremely high levels of water use, as residents work to keep things green amidst this unprecedented heat wave.  We ask that residents stick to the permitted watering hours and we encourage residents to focus on flowers, trees and vegetables, and to consider letting lawns go dormant.”

Under these increased restrictions the use of sprinkler systems more than two days per week is prohibited.

Residents with even numbered households will be permitted to water on Monday and Friday, residents with odd numbered houses will be permitted on Tuesday and Saturday.

Within this, automatic irrigation systems are allowed and encouraged between midnight and 4am. Manual sprinklers are permitted between 6am and 8am, and between 7pm and 10pm. Hand-watering with a controlled flow nozzle can be done at any time.

Bylaw patrols will increase to provide information and enforce compliance. Residents using sprinklers outside of permitted hours who refuse to turn them off when requested will be ticketed.

In addition, watering will be reduced in City of Merritt parks, although the water fountains and Rotary Spray Park will remain in operation to help residents stay cool and beat the heat.

Watering restrictions within Merritt are used to help reduce water consumption, ensure water is available for priority use, and perhaps most importantly, to protect flows in the Coldwater River, which is a vital habitat for fish.