Bylaws on water use in Montréal

Air conditioning / refrigeration units using drinkable water
Watering plants and lawn
Decorative ponds and fountains
Fire hydrants
Restrictions
Washing cars
Washing paved surfaces
New lawn
Bylaw on industrial, commercial and institutions establishments
Filling pools
Myths or truths

Ville de Montréal has adopted 2 bylaws on the use of drinkable water in order to conserve this resource and provide the 2 million residents with quality water at all times and at lesser cost.

This page summarizes some of the provisions of these bylaws. For further details, please refer to the official text.

Air conditioning / refrigeration units using drinkable water

  • Since July 2013, it is prohibited to install an air conditioning, refrigeration, cooling or heating unit, generator set or any mechanical appliance in a building, using water from the water supply system.
  • Any existing appliance using water from the water supply system must be replace no later the December 31, 2017 with an appliance not using water from the water supply system.
  • For more information:
    • consult the pamphlet for the industrial, commercial and institutional
    • consult the pamphlet for the residential sector

Watering plants and lawns

These provisions apply to all of Ville de Montréal's 19 boroughs.

By means of sprinklers or soader hoses

  • 8 p.m. - 11 p.m.
  • On even-numbered dates at even-numbered addresses
  • On odd-numbered dates at odd-numbered addresses

Hand watering plants (borders, gardens, garden landscapes, trees, etc.)

  • Allowed at all times if the hose is equipped with a manual shut-off spray gun

Automatic watering system

  • 3 a.m. - 6 a.m. (during the night)
  • On even-numbered dates at even-numbered addresses
  • On odd-numbered dates at odd-numbered addresses
  • The system must be equipped with a soil moisture sensor

Folder - Bylaws on Water Use

Decorative ponds and fountains

  • All decorative ponds with or without any water jets or cascades, as well as water fountains, must be equipped with a functional system ensuring recirculation of the water. A continuous supply of water from the water supply system is prohibited.

Fire hydrants

  • No one may use a municipal fire hydrant except for a Ville de Montréal employee or a person having authorisation to do so.
  • All requests for authorization must be submitted to the Borough and comply with the conditions set forth in the Bylaw, and the current rate must be paid.

Restrictions

In all cases, it is prohibited:

  • to water when it is raining
  • to let the water run onto a neighbour's property
  • to let the water run onto the street
  • to use water from the water supply systems to melt the snow or ice from driveways, grounds, patios or sidewalk

Washing cars

  • Cars may be washed at all times provided that a wash pail is used or a garden hose equipped with a manual shut-off mechanism.

Washing paved surfaces

  • Using a garden hose to wash driveways and paved surfaces, sidewalks, patios or outdoor walls of a building is allowed between April 1 and May 15 of each year or when painting, construction, renovations or landscaping work justifies doing so or when the presence of waste materials poses a health problem.

New lawn

  • A new lawn, newly planted trees or shrubs or a new landscape may be watered every day, using a portable sprinkler, soaker hose or automatic watering system, for a period of 15 days following the start of seeding, planting or sod-laying operations.
  • the law

Bylaw concerning industrial, commercial and institutional establishments (Bylaw concerning establishments on the island of Montréal)

Automatic flush urinals

  • It is prohibited to install automatic flush urinals in commercial, industrial or institutional establishments. Non-compliant urinals must be replaced by January 1, 2018 with compliant ones (with a manual flushing device, a motion sensor, etc.).

Water play facilities

  • It is prohibited to provide a continuous supply of drinkable water for all such facilities, which must moreover be equipped with a user-controlled activation system. Water displays and water play facilities that are non-compliant must be replaced by January 1, 2016.

Car wash

  • An automatic car wash that uses water from the water supply system must be equipped with a system the recovers, recycles and recirculates the water used. All non-compliant equipment must be replaced by january 1, 2018.

Filling pools

  • Filling a pool is authorized at all times between April 1 and May 15. After that date, filling a private pool is prohibited betweed 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Nervertheless, water from the water system may be used in setting up a new pool in order to maintain the shape of the structure.

 Myths or truths?

True or false
Spraying the streets shouldn't be done when it rains.  

  • False - Rain doesn't remove the dirt accumulated along the curbs. Street watering trucks must be used; they have pressurized, direction-controlled water jets. It's an essential operation for keeping the City clean in spring as well as a health measure and for preventing odours during the summer.

True or false
Flushing the water supply system is a major cause of wasted water.

  • False - Although seeing an open fire hydrant gushing out water may be perceived as a sign of water wastage, flushing the water supply system is one of the most efficient ways of ensuring the quality of the drinkable water that we consume. In fact, the purpose of such flushing is to clear out all the deposits that accumulate on the walls of the pipes. This operation also helps stop the spread of bacteria and maintain an adequate hydraulic capacity. We also use fire hydrants to carry out flow tests, which make it possible to evaluate the capacity of the water system.

True or false
Watering down the streets and spraying could be done using water from the river, to avoid wasting drinkable water.

  • False - Untreated water would leave unpleasant odours in the streets and algae would spread in the water trucks, causing excessive maintenance of the sewage system and the fleet of water trucks.