With all the winter snow and spring rain in Vancouver this year, the topic of water conservation may not necessarily be at the top of people’s minds.
But beginning May 15, as it does every year, the city will once again implement restrictions on when people can use water and how much they can use.
City of Vancouver spokesperson Laura Tennant told Daily Hive the city “will align with Metro Vancouver’s water restrictions again this year, starting on May 15.”
In past years, those restrictions revolved around when people living at certain addresses and/or certain sides of the street could water their plants, lawns, and shrubbery on their properties.
An official announcement on this year’s restrictions schedule is set to be made next week, but in the meantime, Metro Vancouver has outlined some guidelines on its website and the various stages of restriction.
Stage 1 restrictions
Residential lawn sprinkling:
Even-numbered addresses – restricted to Monday/Wednesday/Saturday, 4 am to 9 am only
Odd-numbered addresses – restricted to Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday, 4 am to 9 am only
Car and boat washing
Use spring-loaded shut-off nozzle only
Surface and power washing
Reasons behind restrictions
While it admits that water conservation in a rainforest climate city “might seem strange at first” Metro Vancouver has laid out its reasoning behind restrictions on its website.
It saves money in the long term. Our per capita rate (amount of water used per person) is lower than it was 15 years ago, but at the same time our population grows by over 35,000 people each year. We anticipate another 1 million people by 2040. Using less water reduces the need to expand expensive drinking water infrastructure for storing, treating and distributing our water.
Our summers can be long and dry. It rains a lot in Metro Vancouver: our region receives more than 1 metre a year of precipitation. But not in July, August and September—the time we water our lawns to keep them green.
Climate disruption is impacting weather patterns across the globe with more extreme incidents and stronger patterns of summer drought and winter storms (more rain over fewer days). Snow packs are melting faster and earlier in the spring. These changes affect how we manage our water resources. When considering future water supply we have to consider changes to rainfall and snow pack in our natural environment.
According to Metro Vancouver, most lawns only need an inch of water per week to remain healthy – the equivalent to one hour of watering.