Stage 2 water restrictions were announced at a Metro Vancouver Board meeting on July 3, 2015. In response to rapidly falling water reservoir levels, a number of additional water restrictions will be put in place for the region. Lawn watering will allowed once a week, down from the current allowance of three times a week. City parks will also be under the same Stage 2 restrictions, with watering allowed only once a week.
A number of other restrictions will be put in place around the region. Commercial water fountain displays will be shut down. The washing of driveways and sidewalks will not be allowed for aesthetic purposes. Water play parks that do not have user-activated switches will be closed.
The months of May and June were among the driest and hottest on record in the region. As well, a warm winter has contributed to the lack of a snowcap that would have fed the reservoirs during the summer months. Further water saving measures might be put in place if the dry weather remains; a complete lawn watering restriction would be put in place under the next phase (Stage 3).
Residential watering in Vancouver will only be allowed on Monday mornings from 4-9 am for even-numbered addresses, and on Thursday mornings from 4-9am for odd-numbered addresses. Watering lawns outside of designated times could result in a $250 fine. However, it’s still possible to use water captured in rain barrels or stored in cisterns for residential watering at any time as the restrictions apply only water delivered by the municipal water utility.
Could Metro Vancouver take further steps to reduce water consumption in the region? Should the main focus of the conservation effort be on lawn watering? There are a number of tips on Water Conservation at Home on the Metro Vancouver website. Could more incentives be provided for residents to fix leaky taps and toilets? Can high efficiency appliances (dishwashers and washing machines) and dual flush efficient toilets be encouraged? There’s a lot of opportunity still to reduce water usage by learning from best practices in regions and cities with significantly drier climates.