Metro Vancouver Implements Stage Two Water Restrictions to Combat Potential Water Shortages

Stage 2 Water Restrictions Press Conference July 3, 2015 from Metro Vancouver on Vimeo.

Due to unseasonably dry and hot weather, Metro Vancouver has further restricted water use, including lawn sprinkling regulations. The Metro Vancouver region is now in the second stage of the comprehensive four-stage plan that has the necessary measures to deal with water shortages. Here’s how Stage Two impacts residents and businesses.

Lawn Watering Regulations Deliver Positive Impact

Metro Vancouver Chief Administrative Officer Carol Mason is Commissioner of the Water District. “Metro Vancouver takes water conservation and protection of our sources of drinking water extremely seriously,” said Commissioner Mason. “Over the last several years, our lawn sprinkling regulations have had a significant positive impact on reducing water demands in the peak summer season, and we are asking residents and businesses to further conserve water at this time.”

Capilano Reservoir - July 3, 2015

Capilano Reservoir water level – July 3, 2015

Watering lawns is permitted in the morning but prohibited during evening hours when demand is highest for domestic uses like cooking, dishwashing, laundry, and showers. The increased restrictions apply to lawn sprinkling only and not to watering flowers, vegetables, shrubs, and trees. Metro Vancouver member municipalities enforce the lawn sprinkling regulations.

“We need to reduce our discretionary use of water including lawn sprinkling and washing cars,” said Board Chair Greg Moore. “Our reservoir levels need to be maintained for priority needs in our homes and businesses, and for community needs like fire protection.” “We are seeing record temperatures and there was virtually no rain in June when normally we have rain on about 12 days,” added Moore. “We all have to do our part and conserve water whenever possible, and that now includes only watering lawns once a week.”

Metro Vancouver reservoir levels July 2015

Current reservoir storage levels compared to previous years (click image to visit web page).

Fountains, Playing Fields, and Golf Courses Also Impacted

Additionally, all public and commercial fountains and water features are not allowed to operate. Unless authorized by a municipality, only water play parks with user-activated switches can be operated. Private and commercial washing of driveways, sidewalks, and parkades as well as pressure washing are only allowed for health and safety purposes. Aesthetic purposes are not allowed. Sports and sand-based playing fields may only use the minimum level of water needed to keep them in usable conditions. Golf courses may only water fairways once weekly. 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.

Since Metro Vancouver revised its lawn sprinkling regulations in 2011 to only allow morning sprinkling, peak-day per-capita water demand has decreased by two per cent per year. The seasonal lawn sprinkling regulations took effect on June 1 to help conserve Metro Vancouver’s high-quality drinking water and are in place until September 30. One hour of lawn sprinkling uses as much water as 25 toilet flushes, five loads of laundry, and five dishwasher loads. The demand for water doubles during the hottest days of summer to as much as two billion litres of water a day.

How You Can Help

Other ways to conserve water include: sweeping driveways, sidewalks, and garden paths rather than spraying them with water, ensuring there are full loads for dish and clothes washers, using a spray nozzle with an automatic shut-off when washing your car or watering plants, fixing leaking faucets and hose connections, turning off the tap when brushing your teeth or washing dishes. The last time that Metro Vancouver implemented the second stage of the Water Shortage Response Plan was in 2003.

Current Lawn Sprinkling Regulations


  • Even-numbered addresses may sprinkle lawns 4 a.m. – 9 a.m. Monday
  • Odd-numbered addresses may sprinkle lawns 4 a.m. – 9 a.m. Thursday


  • Even-numbered addresses may sprinkle lawns 1 a.m. – 6 a.m Wednesday
  • Odd-numbered addresses may sprinkle lawns 1 a.m. – 6 a.m. Tuesday
  • Municipal parks must also follow the once weekly lawn sprinkling times

Learn how you can help our region conserve water during this very dry summer by visiting:

One thought on “Metro Vancouver Implements Stage Two Water Restrictions to Combat Potential Water Shortages

  1. If City council’s are so concerned then it is time for the lower mainland to create two water systems, initially in new land and building developments, bringing in clean water and filtering and taking away our grey water, re filtering it and returning it (in a separate line) for use in toilets, lawn sprinkling systems, car washes etc.

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