Thousands of residents in Barrhaven, Riverside South and Manotick are under an immediate outdoor water ban that could last until August.

The ban is in place to ensure all residents have an adequate supply of drinking water while crews replace a 35-year-old water main on Woodroffe Avenue.

The city says a backup pipe that will supply water to the area is only big enough to provide the communities with drinking water and water for indoor use.

If the ban is not followed, the city says it could lead to contaminated drinking water in the area, or an order to use no water at all.

The ban includes:

  • Watering your lawn and garden
  • Using a splash pad
  • Filling or topping up your pool
  • Washing your car
  • Cleaning your deck
  • Any other outdoor use of city-supplied water

Car washing businesses in the area and local garden centres are also being asked to stop all outdoor water use.

"It's going to be a challenging time, there's no question about that. But we will do everything we can within the power of our resources," said Mayor Jim Watson.

The ban is the result of a deteriorating water main on Woodroffe Avenue, which broke twice in the last four years.

The most recent break three months ago caused pavement on Woodroffe Avenue to collapse, creating a giant hole which swallowed a city truck that later had to be pulled out.

The water main break affected 11,000 homes in parts of Barrhaven, Riverside South and Manotick.

Watson says the city is putting together $2 million in programs to help people deal with the outdoor water ban.

Among those measures is a pool top-up program and $50-rebates for residents in the area who want to purchase rain barrels. The city will also put aside money for firefighting measures.

There are at least 16 outdoor plant businesses in the area, and the city plans to spend $415,000 on hauling water to those stores to help them maintain their inventory.

The program will be funded by the city's water reserve account.

Construction on the water main will begin in early May. It will be done in two phases. The second phase is expected to be complete by mid-August.

The water main was installed in 1976 and broke down earlier than expected.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua