Water Restrictions

In the summer and early fall our water use can double from the rest of the year for swimming pools, growing food, maintaining sports fields and other social and community-building uses. But a lot is also used to green our lawns, wash our decks or driveways and other lower-priority uses. The region-wide sprinkling regulations are an effective way to help us use our drinking water wisely. 

Metro Vancouver has updated the Water Shortage Response Plan with a new plan, called the Drinking Water Conservation Plan, active as of May 1, 2018.

It includes changes to the water use regulations, and largely impacts the watering of lawns and gardens, playing fields and golf courses, and the operation of commercial car washes and pools.

Stage 1 lawn sprinkling regulations in effect May 1 - October 15

With Stage 1 regulations lawn sprinkling is permitted at the following times:

RESIDENTIAL LAWN SPRINKLING ALLOWED:

Even-numbered addresses Wednesday, Saturday mornings 4 am to 9 am 
Odd-numbered addresses Thursday, Sunday mornings 4 am to 9 am 
Watering trees, shrubs and flowers is permitted any day, from 4 am to 9 am if using a sprinkler, or any time if hand watering or using drip irrigation.

NON-RESIDENTIAL LAWN SPRINKLING ALLOWED:

Even-numbered addresses Monday mornings 1 am to 6 am and Friday mornings, 4 am to 9 am 
Odd-numbered addresses Tuesday mornings 1 am to 6 am and Friday mornings, 4 am to 9 am 
Watering trees, shrubs and flowers is permitted any day, from 1 am to 9 am if using a sprinkler, or any time if hand watering or using drip irrigation.

The full list of water use regulations for homes, businesses, governments and schools for Stages 1 to 4 is available in the Drinking Water Conservation Plan Summary document.

These restrictions do not apply to the use of rain water, gray water, any forms of recycled water, or other sources of water outside the GVWD/municipal water supply system.

An hour of rain or watering per week is all the water you need for a healthy lawn. Find more information about how to maintain a healthy lawn throughout the year, while following the lawn watering regulations, with Metro Vancouver's lawn care guide.

For more Information:

Tips to Reduce Water Consumption

Conserving water throughout the region is important, so everyone needs to do their part. How can you help? Here are some tips from Metro Vancouver:

Be waterwise outdoors

  • Avoid watering the lawn, and meet current restrictions
  • Put leaves and bark mulch around shrubs and trees to hold in moisture
  • Water vegetable gardens in the morning, near the roots, and by hand
  • Wash cars for safety only, (windscreens, windows and headlights) using a bucket
  • Sweep driveways or decks with a broom instead of the hose
  • Install a shut-off valve on your hose so it only runs when in use
  • Join the herd, and let everything go a little dusty this summer.

 

Be waterwise indoors

  • Keep a jug of cool water in the fridge, instead of running the tap 'till it cools
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or washing dishes
  • Shorter showers, less often
  • Catch bath or shower water for tipping on patio planters
  • Run full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher
  • Install low-flow toilets as they account for 30% of indoor use
  • When replacing appliances, choose low-flow, high efficiency options.

 

Be waterwise in the garden

This summer

  • Pull planters into the shade to avoid the hot afternoon sun
  • Water vegetable gardens in the morning, near the roots, and by hand
  • Hand water vegetable beds deeply but less often, to encourage strong deep roots
  • Hardened soil won't let water through- break up the surface
  • Mulch key shrubs and vegetable gardens to hold moisture longer
  • Embrace the dry heat with tomatoes, basil, beans, melon, eggplant and more
  • When bean vines die off, lay them among the vegetable rows to generate shade and nutrients

Over time

  • Plant shade trees to shelter your home and garden from hot sun
  • Choose shrubs, grasses and flowers that suite our climate, including summer drought
  • Design vegetable and flower beds nearer your house;  avoid places that are hard-to-reach and water
  • Improve your soil with compost and autumn leaves so it's more nutritious and holds water better
  • Install a rain-barrel near your vegetable beds
  • Community gardener? Get together and come up with a water use plan for your plots.