Water use is expected to slowly return to normal in Regina and Moose Jaw as water restrictions in both cities are gradually lifted over the next two weeks.

"I want to stress we're looking for a gradual return to normal," Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said Monday.

Starting at midnight Tuesday, Regina residents will be able resume hand-watering gardens and other landscaping before 6 a.m. or after 8 p.m.

Residents of the Queen City will also be able to use their sprinklers again, but they are asked not to use them for longer than 20 minutes in a 24-hour period.

Regina businesses can also gradually begin returning to normal water use over the next week. However, they are asked to avoid resuming suspended operations during the peak hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays.

However, the city is closing all athletic fields in Regina for at least a week due to deteriorating conditions. Baseball fields will remain open only for regularly scheduled events.

Beginning June 16, residents and businesses can resume normal water use, the City of Regina said in a news release Monday.

Moose Jaw also plans to slowly return to normal water use over the next two weeks. Those property owners whose home address is an even number are asked to water lawns and gardens on even calendar dates, and vice-versa, between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., for a maximum of 20 minutes.

The City of Moose Jaw is also asking people to refrain from washing vehicles and hard surfaces until June 15.

The two cities have been under voluntary water restrictions since May 25 as high levels of algae and oxygen slow the filtration process at the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant.

Officials at the plant say water temperatures in Buffalo Pound Lake are now more stable. Over the weekend, the plant was able to boost the amount of clean water it’s producing, allowing Regina to begin easing water restrictions.

"No water ever left the plant that didn't meet regulations, but it did slow us down as we had two options -- shut the plant off or run much slower," said plant manager Ryan Hohnson.

"So, we had to run that much slower, which is why the city started having trouble with the reservoirs."

The City of Regina says it will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the incident in the coming days and weeks.

The review will include discussions on more permanent options for reducing the City of Regina’s water usage for activities such as washing vehicles.

City of Regina - Water Update