Metro Vancouver: Stage 1 lawn watering regulations come into effect on May 1

THE onset of spring weather is a reminder that hotter and drier days are ahead, and it’s time to increase efforts to conserve the region’s drinking water.

Seasonal lawn watering regulations come into effect on May 1 and will remain in place until October 15. Residents and businesses will be permitted to water lawns up to two mornings per week, with designated days determined by property address. Trees, shrubs and flowers may be watered in the morning when using a sprinkler, or any time when hand watered or using drip irrigation. Edible plants are exempt from the regulations. One hour of rain or watering per week is all a lawn needs to remain healthy.

“We have some of the best drinking water in the world and it is a precious resource. That’s why it’s vital that all of us to do our part to limit our water use as we head into the driest months of the year,” said Sav Dhaliwal, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Board of Directors.

The regulations, which are part of Metro Vancouver’s Drinking Water Conservation Plan, have consistently reduced outdoor water use during the summer, when water is most likely to be used for purposes other than cooking, cleaning and drinking.

Metro Vancouver’s water supply comes from rainfall and snowmelt in three mountain water supply areas — the Capilano, Seymour and Coquitlam watersheds.

“Water demand increases by as much as 50 per cent in the summer and early fall. Metro Vancouver is fortunate to have abundant fresh water sources, but our ability to capture, store and distribute all of the water is limited. Like all natural resources, drinking water must be managed and used wisely,” said Malcolm Brodie, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Water Committee.

Reducing the demand for treated drinking water through conservation can defer the need to expand drinking water supply and infrastructure.

Stage 1 Residential Lawn Watering Allowed:

  • Even-numbered addresses — Wednesdays and Saturdays, between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m.
  • Odd-numbered addresses — Thursdays and Sundays, between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m.
  • Trees, shrubs and flowers can be watered with a sprinkler any day between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m., or any time by hand or using drip irrigation.

Stage 1 Non-Residential Lawn Watering Allowed:

  • Even-numbered addresses — Mondays between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., and Fridays 4 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Odd-numbered addresses — Tuesdays between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., and Fridays 4 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Trees, shrubs and flowers can be watered with a sprinkler any day between 1 a.m. and 9 a.m., or any time by hand or using drip irrigation.

These restrictions do not apply to the use of rain water, grey water, any forms of recycled water or other sources of water outside the regional and municipal water supply system. Member jurisdictions enforce lawn watering regulations through local bylaw restrictions.

Metro Vancouver collaborates with member jurisdictions to plan for and deliver drinking water services to 2.7 million residents and businesses using a system of watersheds, dams, treatment facilities, reservoirs, pump stations and water mains. Upgrades are regularly made to the system to maintain the regional district’s ability to reliably provide clean, safe drinking water.

The 2020 Water Quality Annual Report confirms that the multiple protections in place for drinking water — including watershed protection, water treatment and the ongoing operation of the water system — allow Metro Vancouver to fulfill its role of delivering drinking water to the region. Last year, the quality of treated water met or exceeded water quality standards and the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.

Find tips and tricks for indoor and outdoor water conservation at www.welovewater.ca.