About the watering restrictions

Buy a water conservation kit and save water when you garden.

Why restrictions are needed in rainy Vancouver

While the Vancouver area gets a lot of rain, the Lower Mainland has limited water storage capacity.

Much of the rainfall and melted snow in the Capilano and Seymour watersheds can't be collected for later use during dry weather conditions. 

Years ago this wasn't a problem, but recent population growth in the Lower Mainland has led to increased demand for water.

The Metro Vancouver regional district has implemented sprinkling regulations to avoid more restrictive measures in case of drought.

What happens if you water outside of the permitted times

The City of Vancouver recognizes that in some cases the regulations may not provide your lawn with enough water. If you have a new lawn or you are using nematodes to treat your lawn for European Chafer Beetles, you can apply for a water exemption permit.

If you water your lawn outside of designated times and don't have a permit, you could be fined $250. The City actively patrols for violations. 

What exactly is restricted?

The restrictions have four stages based on the seriousness of the water shortage  (60 KB).

Currently, the City of Vancouver is at Stage 2. See the table below for information about the specific restrictions for this stage.

Note These restrictions apply only to the use of treated drinking water. Using rain water, gray water, or any forms of recycled water isn't restricted.

Current water restrictions: Stage 2

Activity Restrictions
Residential lawn sprinkling
  • Even-numbered addresses: Monday morning only, 4:00am to 9:00am
  • Odd-numbered addresses: Thursday morning only, 4:00am to 9:00am 
Non-residential lawn sprinkling
  • Even-numbered addresses: Wednesday morning only, 1:00am to 6:00am
  • Odd-numbered addresses: Tuesday morning only, 1:00am to 6:00am
New (unestablished) residential and commercial lawns, trees, shrubs and flowers Sprinkling outside restricted times allowed only at the City's discretion and with water exemption permits to be displayed on the lawn
Flowers and vegetable gardens, decorative planters, shrubs, and trees No restrictions
Commercial flowers and vegetable gardens No restrictions
Private pools, spas, and garden ponds No restrictions
Public water play parks and pools Unless the City approves it, only water play parks with user-activated switches are operated
Public and commercial fountains and water features Turned off
Private and commercial outdoor impermeable surface-washing (like driveways, sidewalks, and parkades) Only for health and safety purposes or to prepare a surface for painting or similar treatment. Washing for aesthetic purposes is prohibited.
Private and commercial pressure washing Only for health and safety purposes or to prepare a surface for painting or similar treatment. Washing for aesthetic purposes is prohibited.
Outdoor car washing and boat washing Only with hoses equipped with a spring-loaded shut off
Commercial car washes No restrictions
Golf courses Water greens and tee areas normally, and fairways only once per week, with signs encouraging the use of water that doesn't come from our region's reservoirs
Commercial turf farms No restrictions
Artificial turf and outdoor tracks (like bicycle and motorcycle tracks, and running tracks) Hosing for health and safety only
School yards, and sports- and sand-based playing fields Minimum levels required to maintain areas in useable condition
Cemetery lawns
  • Even-numbered addresses: Wednesday morning only, 1:00am to 6:00am
  • Odd-numbered addresses: Tuesday morning only, 1:00am to 6:00am
Municipal parks, ornamental lawns, and grassy boulevards
  • Even-numbered addresses: Wednesday morning only, 1:00am to 6:00am
  • Odd-numbered addresses: Tuesday morning only, 1:00am to 6:00am
Municipal hydrant flushing Only for unscheduled safety or public health reasons, with routine flushing rescheduled after water restrictions are lifted.

Ask. Tell. Connect.

Phone 3-1-1 to ask, tell, and connect with the City

Outside Vancouver:
604-873-7000

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Exemption permits

Water exemption permits are available under certain circumstances.

Find out how to get a water exemption permit if you are:

  • Growing a new lawn.
  • Treating your lawn with nematodes.

Exemptions

What about parks and playing fields?

Parks and playing fields areas are exempt from the restrictions because they are often too large to be effectively watered within the allowed sprinkling times.

Also, most playing fields are built on a sand base for better drainage. Turf grown on a sand base can die if not watered. The high cost of replacing playing field turf is a poor use of public money.

Metro Vancouver lawn sprinkling regulations

Metro Vancouver

Lawn sprinkling regulations are set by Metro Vancouver and enforced by the City.

Read about Metro Vancouver's lawn sprinkling regulations.

Learn more

Last modified: Fri, 03 Jul 2015 14:10:06