Seven municipal courses are free to pull water from rivers and streams during dry spells.
The mayor chose an opportune time to announce that he favours banning the use of bottled water in city buildings - right in the middle of an advertising campaign urging residents to conserve water.
While it seemed curious to his critics for the city to be spending $250,000 on a campaign urging people not to water their lawns during the wettest summer on record, the real gusher for environmentalists is that the biggest guzzlers - city golf courses - are exempt from any water restrictions.
Remember the brutally scorching summer of 2002, when Mel Lastman was keeping us on our tiptoes with his embarrassing antics?
That summer, council adopted a policy intended to help reduce peak water use and conserve the water supply in times of high demand.
People are again being asked to reduce outdoor water use, yet the city's seven municipal courses, each of which covers an area of 110-plus hectares, don't have to comply with these regulations.
Neil Zaph, director of strategic services at parks and rec, couldn't find the numbers so can't say for sure how much water golf courses consume.
"We only water trees and greens," Zaph says.
But as a recent report by Ecojustice and Earthroots reveals (www.earthroots.org), it's a safe bet that millions of litres of water are being sucked up to keep the city's greens green.
Zaph adds that most of the water used this way comes from in-ground wells or, when times get really dry, from adjacent rivers and streams like the Humber and the Don. The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority seems willing to sign the required permits. Here, when it comes to water consumption, gaps in environmental legislation are par for the course.
Josh Garfinkel is a campaigner for Earthroots.