Metro Vancouver ramps up water restriction to Stage 3


DUE to ongoing hot and dry weather, continued high water demand and declining reservoir levels, Metro Vancouver has further restricted water use in the region, including a complete prohibition on lawn sprinkling until further notice.

Effective immediately, Metro Vancouver has implemented the third stage of a comprehensive four-stage plan necessary to prevent any potential water shortages in the future.

The decision to move to the third stage of the Water Shortage Response Plan was announced by Greater Vancouver Water District Commissioner, Carol Mason, who is also the Chief Administrative Officer for Metro Vancouver.

“We have implemented stage three water use restrictions to help ensure that we have the necessary supply of water through the early fall for use in our homes and businesses, and for critical community needs such as fire suppression,” said Mason.

In addition to a prohibition on lawn sprinkling, Metro Vancouver member municipalities will not issue lawn sprinkling exemption permits, and municipal parks, ornamental lawns, and grassed boulevards will not be watered. Residential pools, hot tubs and garden ponds can no longer be refilled, and personal outdoor vehicle and boat washing is not allowed. Commercial car washes remain open.

“The Greater Vancouver Water District has an impeccable record of successfully managing the region’s water infrastructure, ensuring an adequate supply of high quality drinking water throughout the region, every year without exception since 1924,” said Metro Vancouver Chair Greg Moore.

“Working in collaboration with local health authorities, leading academic institutions and our member municipalities, Metro Vancouver is the regional water authority. We are appealing to all residents and businesses in Metro Vancouver to conserve this resource or risk municipal fines,” he added. “Collectively, we need to reduce consumption below 1.2 billion liters per day, and if everyone does their part, we’ll make that happen.”

Metro Vancouver’s Water Shortage Response Plan is designed to manage the demand for drinking water during the summer months or emergencies. The Plan focuses on reducing outdoor water use, and has four stages to restrict or prohibit certain activities depending on the severity of the water shortage.

Restrictions in the Plan’s third stage include:

  • A ban on all lawn sprinkling. Treated drinking water may not be used for sprinkling of any kind, however, residential vegetables, flowers, shrubs, plants and trees may be watered by hand with a container or spring-loaded shut-off nozzle.
  • Vehicle and boat washing is prohibited, except for windows, mirrors, lights, and licence plates for safety reasons.
  • Residential swimming pools, hot tubs, and garden ponds may not be refilled or topped up.
  • Golf course fairways may not be watered. Only minimal watering is allowed for greens and tee areas.
  • Water play parks can only be operated with user-activated switches as in the Plan’s second stage.
  • Power and pressure washing, and washing any outdoor impermeable surfaces is only allowed for health and safety purposes.
  • Water exemption permits, such as those under Phase Two for nematode treatment and new lawns, are cancelled.

Other ways to conserve water include: sweeping driveways, sidewalks, and garden paths rather than spraying them with water, ensuring full loads for dish and clothes washers, limiting watering of plants, fixing leaking faucets and hose connections, and turning off the tap while brushing teeth or washing dishes.

Thanks to conservation programs like the lawn sprinkling regulations and the Water Shortage Response Plan, there has been a 27-per-cent decline in per-capita water use in Metro Vancouver since 1993. Metro Vancouver revised its lawn sprinkling regulations in 2011 to only allow morning sprinkling, and since then peak-day per-capita water demand has decreased by two per cent per year.

Metro Vancouver member municipalities enforce the lawn sprinkling regulations with fines ranging up to $250 per violation.