Drinking water in Sutton (#3 of 4) – Regulation on the resource

The Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) of the Town of Sutton presents a series of 4 informative capsules on the theme of drinking water, its availability, its management and its sustainable use. For this third capsule, we present the framework currently in effect that allows us to control and limit the quantity of drinking water consumed and to protect the resource.

Controlling the use of drinking water

In the first capsule on drinking water, we saw that the objective to be reached by 2025 according to the Quebec Strategy for Drinking Water Conservation is 220 litres/person/day. This represents a 36% reduction from our current residential consumption of 344 litres/person/day.

In order to reach this ambitious and necessary objective for the sustainable use of water in Sutton, several means are being put forward, including a regulatory framework.

For example, did you know that Sutton adopted its first Drinking Water Use Bylaw in 2012, more than 10 years ago? Based on the model by-law proposed by the MAMH, the Drinking Water Use By-law number 217 currently in force regulates, among other things, the following uses:

  • Pressure Reducing Valves
    • Installation of a pressure reducer with a pressure gauge is required for all new installations and for all existing installations in the Mountain sector;
  • Water Meters
    • A water meter must be installed at the water inlet of any building occupied in whole or in part by a non-residential use;
    • An additional compensation of $7.10 per 4,546 m3 (1,000 imperial gallons) is imposed when a business consumes more than 227,305 m3 (50,000 imperial gallons) in a six (6) month period;
  • Tank Filling
    • Filling from the aqueduct requires Town approval;
  • Waste of water
    • No leaks allowed, including pools filled from the water supply
  • Watering
    • Only permitted from May 1 to October 1 between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays
    • Authorized at all times for watering vegetable gardens and annual flowers only by using a hand held container or by using a rain barrel;
  • New lawn and landscaping
    • Allowed to water every day, except between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., for a maximum period of 15 days;
  • Watering Bans
    • In the event of a major drought or breakdown, the Town may impose a ban on the watering of lawns, trees and shrubs, the filling of swimming pools and the washing of vehicles or the use of water outdoors for any reason;
  • Automatic watering system
    • Any lot or building occupied by four (4) or more dwelling units on which an automatic sprinkler system is installed shall be provided with one or more storm water detention basins to collect water from the roof and the equipment necessary to supply the automatic irrigation system;
  • Pool and spa
    • Filling permitted only from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays;
    • An annual fee of $165.00 shall be charged to all properties served by a municipal water system with a pool that is deeper than three feet (3′) at its deepest point;
  • Vehicles
    • Washing permitted at all times provided that a wash bucket or hose equipped with an automatic shut-off device is used;
  • Driveways, sidewalks, streets, patios or exterior walls of buildings
    • Permitted only from April 1st to May 15th of the same calendar year or during construction;
  • Agricultural irrigation
    • It is prohibited to use potable water for agricultural irrigation unless a water meter is installed on the supply line and the Town has authorized it.

To view the by-law in detail: Drinking Water Use By-law Number 217

Please note that this by-law is currently being updated, as required by the MAMH*, which will take into account the evolution of the local context of use and availability of the resource.

In addition, the Town of Sutton’s Building By-law number 117 currently in effect requires the following measures

  • Low flow toilets
    • For all buildings served by the Town’s sewer and/or water systems, all new toilets must be equipped with a tank with a maximum capacity of 6 liters;
  • Gutters
    • Within the urbanization perimeter, all new residential construction shall be prohibited from discharging water from gutters and downspouts directly to the sanitary sewer, storm sewer, ditch, roadway or water system;
    • This provision promotes, among other things, the infiltration of water into the ground and the recharge of groundwater.

Temporary freeze on development in certain sectors

We also saw in a previous capsule that Sutton has two water systems with two distinct sources. However, the network in the Montagne sector suffers from chronic water shortages, especially during low water periods (end of summer or during winter cold spells) and when demand is too high. Faced with this observation and the real estate development in this sector that threatened to aggravate the problem, the Town of Sutton asked, in 2022, the Brome-Missisquoi MRC to adopt an interim control allowing the freezing of construction in the sector of the mountain in Sutton. The Town then adopted, in 2023, its own Interim Control By-law to ensure the supply of drinking water in a sector of the urbanization perimeter of Sutton number 322. This by-law imposes a temporary freeze on certain construction projects until the Town can carry out the studies and analyses necessary to plan sustainable solutions to ensure a water supply for its citizens.

For example, the following are temporarily prohibited:

  • In the Mountain sector:
    • All subdivisions
    • Any new main construction,
    • Any addition or creation of a dwelling
    • For an accommodation establishment, any addition or creation of a room or accommodation unit,
    • Any new construction or replacement of a swimming pool, except if the filling is done by tanker.
  • In the Academy area (which represents the Village well recharge area), unless supplied by town aqueduct:
    • Any subdivision
    • Construction of new dwellings, other than single-family detached dwellings
    • New integrated projects

To consult the by-law in detail: Interim control by-law to ensure the supply of drinking water in a sector of the urbanization perimeter of Sutton number 322

Water Saving Tip of the Week

Bath and Shower

The shower is the largest source of hot water consumption in your home. Saving water in the shower will reduce your electricity bill.

  • Take showers rather than baths;
  • Taking a 5-minute shower will save you an average of 200 liters of drinking water per week;
  • Replacing your standard shower head with a WaterSense certified shower head can reduce your water consumption in the shower by a quarter.


Faucet use accounts for nearly 20% of your home’s water consumption, and some of that is hot water.

  • Turn off the faucet when washing your hands, brushing your teeth or shaving.
  • Install faucet aerators and cut your bathroom use in half and your kitchen use by a quarter.
  • Do your faucets leak? Fix them and avoid waste.
    • Did you know that a faucet that leaks at 60 drops per minute uses more than 700 liters per month? This is equivalent to about 15 five-minute showers.

Approximately 40% of the water used in your home is hot water. By saving water, you use less energy and save money! (Source: MAMH).

Notes and references:

*As part of the Drinking Water Conservation Strategy (In French only), municipalities must adopt a bylaw similar to MAMH’s 2020 model by September 1, 2021.

MAMH, Campagne Mon empreinte bleue (In French only).