Metro Vancouver Regional District has announced that water restrictions in the region have been downgraded from Stage 3 to Stage 2.
This was made possible by the recent dose of much-needed wet weather, which increased the regional district’s reservoir water storage levels to ‘normal’ – to a level where the reservoirs should be at this time of the year. Cooler temperatures have also drastically reduced the demand on the water system.
At this time, the Capilano, Seymour and Coquitlam reservoirs are hovering at a storage capacity of 60 per cent, according to a release. The region’s three alpine lakes have also been replenished by the recent rainfall.
“Metro Vancouver staff have continuously monitored the water levels in our three reservoirs as well as our daily water consumption, and now that the reservoirs are within the seasonal average, we can return to Stage Two water restrictions,” said Carol Mason, Commissioner of the Greater Vancouver Water District and Metro Vancouver’s Chief Administrative Officer, in a statement.
“Implementing the third stage of restrictions was a difficult but necessary decision given the low snowpack combined with hot, dry weather in July and August, forecast to continue into the fall,” she added. “We are returning to the Stage Two restrictions until further notice, because of the combination of much-needed rain and reduced daily demand for water.”
With Stage 2 water restrictions, this means residents, businesses and municipal government parks can now water their lawns, but only during these following times:
- Residential lawn sprinkling allowed
- Even-numbered addresses Monday mornings 4 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- Odd-numbered addresses Thursday mornings 4 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- Non-residential lawn sprinkling allowed
- Even-numbered addresses Wednesday mornings 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.
- Odd-numbered addresses Tuesday mornings 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.
These lawn sprinkling times have been set during the period when the water system is experiencing its lowest demand.
In addition to lawn watering, Stage 2 restrictions allow the private and commercial washing of driveways, sidewalks, and parkades as well as the use of pressure washing for health and safety reasons. Sports and sand-based sports fields can use a minimum level of water in order to maintain the surfaces in usable conditions.
However, public and commercial fountains and water features are still unable to use water, and only water parks activated by a switch can be operated.
The historic drought began in May and ended in late-August, with Stage 2 restrictions enacted on July 3 and Stage 3 restrictions shortly after on July 20.
This summer’s highest recorded water consumption was on July 2 when 1.7 billion litres were used. On that day, a temperature high of 24.6°C was recorded by the water in Vancouver, with even higher temperatures inland.
In addition to hot water and a lack of rainfall, snowpacks in the region’s mountains were almost non-existent following a winter that had warm temperatures and very little snow.
Snowpacks typically act as ‘stored water’ that replenishes reservoir levels during the summer months when there is less rain.
Water restrictions could be further downgraded to Stage 1 soon if the weather cooperates and water usage levels do not fluctuate greatly.