Evanston residents will have to restrict their lawn sprinkling to alternate days under an ordinance scheduled for introduction at tonight’s City Council meeting.

The new rule would require residents on odd-numbered sides of a street to only water on odd-numbered days and people on even numbered sides of a street to water only on even-numbered days.

In a memo, city staff says the new restriction is needed to comply with recent revisions to regional Lake Michigan Water Allocation Rules and Regulations.

The odd-even restriction would be in effect from May 15 through Sept. 15 each year.

The ordinance would also expand Evanston’s current ban on outdoor water use between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day to apply year round and eliminate existing exceptions for holidays and weekends.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Law sprinkling
    The proposed Evanston ordinance is far more restrictive than the Lake Michigan Water Allocation rules require. As written, the proposed Evanston ordinance says that no one may use water “for the purpose of watering and/or sprinkling lawns and/or gardens” except from May 15 through September 15, when it’s permitted for odd addresses on odd days and for even addresses on even days. So under this rule, you can’t water your garden at all from September 15 to May 15. The old ordinance and the Lake Michigan rules would permit any watering between September 15 and May 15. Further, the ordinance is more restrictive because the Lake Michigan rules only require the restrictions to apply to “lawn sprinkling.” It doesn’t require a restriction on garden watering. Personally, I’ve stopped watering my yard altogether because it’s unnecessary. If the grass browns, it comes back when it rains. But I still need to water my garden and trees, and I usually do so on Sundays. Under this needless ordinance, I could only do it every other Sunday, and then only before 10 am or after 4 pm, for no particular reason (the evaporation argument only applies to lawn sprinkling). Hopefully the City will take a closer look at the new ordinance and limit its scope to what is required and what makes sense.

  2. Water & Bonds
    …after the last move to conserve water (when the city pushed residents to put rain barrels in), people began using a lot less water and the city was forced to increase water rates. We already have three consecutive years of recommended water rate increases that we are in the middle of. I don’t have ESP or the ability to read tea leaves, but my instinct tells me this is just going to continue that spate of increases for more years.

  3. Would these new rules apply

    Would these new rules apply to both residences and businesses?

    Is anybody on the city council going to explain why they need new rules or are they are going to continue to pass regulations the old way? No explaination coming.

    1. Water Logic
      So let me get this right. Water bills are going up due to infrastructure upgrades that will supply other suburbs with more water. But you, Evanston residents, the one’s who live a few blocks from the lake (and the property taxes that come with it) can’t use water for your lawn or garden from 10am-4pm all year. Those winter hockey rinks, spring gardens, summer slip & slides and the fall tree plantings….you and the family need to do them at 3am–all year long! What you talk’in bout Willis?

  4. Other uses?
    Would this apply to running a sprinkler on a hot weekend afternoon for kids to play in? We don’t all have country clubs to go to…

  5. Awkward approach and probably unworkable

    Awkward approach and probably unworkable for many homeowners.  If you have a programable sprinkler system (by far the most efficient watering approach), not sure that it can be programed by date, but rather that's done by day of the week.   

    1. Programming your sprinkler

      At least some sprinkler systems can be programmed to follow an odd-even alternate days rule … don't know whether all can.

      — Bill

    1. Still time

      Ordinances require two votes at separate meetings, unless the rules are suspended.

      In this case the ordinance was introduced on the consent agenda Monday night and will be up for final adoption on Monday, March 28.

      — Bill

  6. Unenforceable laws

    Why are we adding another law that won't be enforced? The leaf blower ban has been on the books for 20 years and is never enforced. Try calling the police. They'll show up in about 30 minutes. Most crews take about 15-20 minutes to do a yard.

    When the ordinance was approved in 1995, the chief of police was asked for and gave strong assurances that the ban would be enforced.

    We have a ban on loud noise in cars. Try getting that one enforced.

    We should require lawn services to be licensed by the city. They get a license to display prominently on all trucks so that citizens can call in violations and they can be ticketed. The first 2-3 weeks of the season, the City should strenuously enforce all violations. That might help. And City crews should also adhere to the ordinance. A tree in front of my house was trimmed 2 weeks ago and the City crew used a leaf blower to clean up.



















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