About the watering restrictions

 As of July 20, 2015, Stage 3 watering restrictions are now in effect

Find out what the restrictions mean for you

For detailed information on all restriction levels, download the Metro Vancouver GVWD Water Shortage Response Plan (60 KB).

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 during Stage 3 watering restrictions

Water exemption permits are not issued during Stage 3 watering restrictions. Water Exemption Permits will be revoked in the event that the GVRD (Metro Vancouver) activates Stage 3 or Stage 4 of the Water Shortage Response Plan, By-law 8912. Refunds will not be issued.

If you water your lawn during the Stage 3 watering restrictions, 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 3. 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 3

Activity Restrictions
Residential lawn sprinkling All forms of watering using treated drinking water are prohibited.
Non-Residential lawn sprinkling All forms of watering using treated drinking water are prohibited.
New (unestablished) residential and commercial lawns, trees, shrubs, and  flowers No new permits issued or renewed. All forms of watering using treated drinking water are prohibited.
Flowers and vegetable gardens, decorative planters, shrubs, and trees Only if done by hand using a spring-loaded shut-off nozzle, or using containers or drip irrigation. Use of sprinklers or soaker hoses is prohibited.
Commercial flowers and vegetable gardens No restrictions
Private pools, spas, and garden ponds Refilling is prohibited.
Public water play parks, and pools Unless otherwise authorized by municipality, only water play parks with user-activated switches will be operated.
Public and commercial fountains and water features All shut down.
Private and commercial outdoor impermeable surface washing (such as, 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. Private pressure washing prohibited.
Outdoor car washing and boat washing No outdoor washing or rinsing of vehicles and pleasure crafts, except for safety (windows, lights, and licenses only).
Commercial car washes No restrictions
Golf courses Water greens and tee areas minimally; fairways may not be watered.
Commercial turf farms No restrictions
Artificial turf and outdoor tracks (such as, bicycle and motorcycle tracks, running tracks) Hosing for health and safety only.
School yards, sports, and sand-based playing fields Minimum levels required to maintain areas in useable condition.
Cemetery lawns All forms of watering using treated drinking water are prohibited.
Municipal parks All forms of watering using treated drinking water are prohibited.
Municipal ornamental lawns and grassed boulevards All forms of watering using treated drinking water are prohibited.
Municipal hydrant flushing Only for unscheduled safety or public health reasons. Routine flushing to be scheduled after 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: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 15:32:29