About the watering restrictions

 Stage 1 water restrictions are in effect until October 15, 2015.

Learn about the regulations

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 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 1. 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 1 

Activity Restrictions
Residential lawn sprinkling
  • Even-numbered addresses on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings 4:00am to 9:00am
  • Odd-numbered addresses on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday mornings, 4:00am to 9:00am
Non-Residential lawn sprinkling
  • Even-numbered addresses Monday and  Wednesday mornings 1:00am to 6:00am
  • Odd-numbered addresses Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 1:00am to 6:00am
  • All non-residential addresses Friday morning 4:00am to 9:00am
New (unestablished) residential and commercial lawns, trees, shrubs, and flowers Sprinkling outside restricted times allowed only at the discretion of each municipality and with special permits to be displayed on 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 No restrictions
Public and commercial fountains and water features No restrictions
Private and commercial outdoor impermeable surface washing (such as, driveways, sidewalks, and parkades) No restrictions
Private and commercial pressure washing No restrictions
Outdoor car washing and boat washing Only with hose equipped with spring-loaded shut off.
Commercial car washes No restrictions
Golf courses Municipalities request golf course operators cut water use on fairways by as much as possible.
Commercial turf farms No restrictions
Synthetic 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 No restrictions
Cemetery lawns
  • Even-numbered addresses Monday and Wednesday mornings 1:00am to 6:00am
  • Odd-numbered addresses Tuesday and Thursday mornings 1:00am to 6:00am
  • All non-residential addresses Friday morning 4:00am to 9:00am
Municipal parks No restrictions
Municipal ornamental lawns and grassed boulevards
  • Even-numbered addresses Monday and Wednesday mornings 1:00am to 6:00am
  • Odd-numbered addresses Tuesday and Thursday mornings 1:00am to 6:00am
  • All non-residential addresses Friday morning 4:00am to 9:00am.
Municipal hydrant flushing Only for unscheduled safety or public health reasons. Routine flushing to be scheduled after restrictions are lifted.


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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.


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