Little Canada council approves daytime sprinkling ban

Enforcement slated to begin in June


Despite the stalled spring thaw, the Little Canada City Council is looking towards summer, and on March 28 passed an ordinance amendment that will change when some residents water their lawns.

With a quick unanimous vote, the council put in place a daytime sprinkling ban that will be in effect May 1 through September 30 each year, running between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily for both residential and commercial water users. 

The ban applies to water users connected to the municipal water system as well as those with wells. Outdoor water uses such as washing a car, filling a kiddie pool or the supervised watering of shrubs are not included in the ban.

“I think it’s a solid conservation practice you should probably be doing,” City Administrator Joel Hanson told the council at the March 28 meeting. “There’s a lot of data out there that says if you are watering yards between 9 or 10 in the morning until 5 or 6 at night, more water is lost to evaporation than if you were doing it in low light areas or in the evening or dark.”

City staffers began discussing such a ban because of a court ruling on White Bear Lake water levels that could mean an all-out sprinkling ban within five miles of the lake, which would include Little Canada. 

A full ban isn’t imminent, and Hanson said Little Canada’s ban is not directly tied to lake levels — it’s just good policy.

Both the cities of White Bear Lake and Shoreview have similar bans on the books, Hanson said, and Little Canada’s ordinance was based on the latter city’s code.

Though council members brought up concerns about the difficulty of enforcing a ban at the previous council meeting, they were on board with the enforcement plan as presented March 28. 

It includes a warning for first-time offenders, and an escalating fine schedule between $50 and $100 for repeat offenders, culminating in a misdemeanor charge for those who break the ban more than four times, as meted out by the city attorney and carrying a $500 fine, 90 days in jail or both.

Enforcement will be carried out by summer work crews and Hanson said the city will enforce the ban only after notice of it is included in the city’s June newsletter. 


— Mike Munzenrider

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