Water Use

The following is a brief and legal summary of the City of Markham's Water Use and Standing Water By-law taken from the City's By-law Guide for Markham Homeowners.

It explains, in plain language and with information links, what residents must know about specific City services and operations, which may affect a Markham homeowners' property.

Water Use and Standing Water By-law Summary

In Brief

Ensuring we have a reliable supply of clean, fresh water is an important priority in our community. Markham’s Water Use By-law helps avoid water shortages and low-pressure problems during the summer, a time of typically high water usage. Another concern in Markham, that mosquitoes which can spread the West Nile Virus not be given a chance to thrive, is addressed by the local Standing Water By-law.

What You Must Know

Our City’s water supply is regulated (Water Use By-law 2019-53) by restricting the watering of lawns between June 1st and September 30th of each year. No watering is permitted during the hottest hours of the day, when the sun is most likely to speed up its evaporation. Homeowners may choose to water their lawns between 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM or between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM, but not both.

  • Homeowners and tenants of properties with an even-numbered street address can water their lawns on even-numbered days during this time.
  • Homeowners and tenants of properties with an odd-numbered street address can water their lawns on odd-number days during this time.

These watering restrictions are most applicable when there is a water ban; they do not apply to new sod (grass that comes in rolls), for two months after it is laid down, to allow the grass to get well established.

West Nile Virus

Pools of standing water are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes that can carry the West Nile Virus. The virus can cause flu-like symptoms and, rarely, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain or its protective membrane) in humans. To prevent breeding grounds, the Standing Water By-law (2003-122) requires that your property be kept in such a way as to allow for complete drainage of standing water. This includes filling in ditches and ensuring the natural drainage features of your land are not disturbed. See Site Alteration By-law Summary for more information about property drainage.

Pools, hot tubs, and decorative ponds must be kept in good, working condition. Swimming pools in particular are also addressed in By-law 248-1999 which requires that their parts be kept clean with no leaks, the equipment repaired and the water properly filtered and purified. If the pool is not being used often, it must be covered and the water treated to make sure it doesn’t become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. See Fences By-law Summary for more information about safely creating swimming pools.

Step By Step Water Use & Standing Water

Refer complaints about standing water, swimming pools, hot tubs and artificial ponds to the By-law Enforcement and Licensing Division. An officer may deliver, or send by registered mail, an Order of Compliance to the owner (as shown on the last assessment roll) of the property in question. When a specified period of time expires, an Order of Compliance that is in default may result in work being done by the City or its agents at the owner’s expense.

Fines of up to $5,000 may be levied for all offences.

When in doubt, check it out! Help is always available.

For more information call the By-law Enforcement and Licensing Department at 905-479-7782 or email customerservice@markham.ca.

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