Case studies: Residents and businesses taking action

What we are doing

We are taking action to ensure our daily practices are always getting more water wise. Learn about how we are protecting city water.

Businesses and residents around Vancouver know the worth of water, and are taking action to:

  • Ensure that treated water is protected for drinking, cooking, and cleaning
  • Ensure that our waterways are clean and safe for us all to enjoy
  • Save water; thereby lowering their water bills

Reducing operating costs

Jeff Hayes, Managing Director for Lantern Properties, has completed water and energy upgrades — such as installing low-flow fixtures and toilets — in low rise rental buildings. The result has been a reduction to the cost of operating the buildings.

Bonus: The residents really appreciate the upgrades. 

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Conserving water

“The Gathering Place is a community centre that provides support services to vulnerable populations in the Downtown South community. Our health services department provides people access to free laundry and showers. With over 17,500 loads of laundry and 22,000 showers provided each year there has been great opportunity in this department to conserve water. 

While renovating our showers we installed timers to prevent water from running continuously while people are showering. When the button is pushed in the shower water will run for three minutes and then shut off. The person in the shower can push the button again when they need more water.

With our washers, we recently upgraded to new commercial washers that combine low water usage with a higher spin speed to offer owners maximum energy efficiency and water conservation. Further, as part of our monitoring process we ensure that patrons only run washers with appropriate sized loads.” —  Jo-Ann Stevens, Manager of Community Centre Operations for Downtown South Gathering Place 

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Increasing water efficiency

When Joe moved to Vancouver in 2007 he couldn’t believe that once-through cooling systems were still legal in Vancouver. He led the Hyatt Regency in being ahead of the curve in water efficiency by retrofitting the hotel’s once-through cooling systems with less wasteful alternatives, dramatically increasing his hotel’s water efficiency and reducing his hotel’s losses to water and sewer bills. 

“Converting our system was the right thing to do and the cost savings were an added benefit.”  — Joe Weiss, Director of Engineering, Hyatt Regency 

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Protecting natural water ways

“Through street art and neighbourhood dialogues, the Rainway Project reconnects us with the local salmon streams that are now buried under concrete and piped into sewers. This journey of reconnecting to the local watershed needs to also become a journey of reconciliation, for instance through naming and planning that recognizes Coast Salish languages and perspectives. In this context, our contribution is to encourage the city to think and act more like a healthy watershed, to understand that human health depends on the health of the water and the land.

The Rainway makes connections, seeing water friendly potential in all the changes along St. George Street from the redevelopment of the Hyundai dealership at Kingsway (the headwaters) all the way downstream to Skwachays, what the Squamish called the False Creek Flats area, where the Great Northern Way campus will soon be built for Emily Carr. The water that flows down to False Creek should be as clean as the rain that falls, not polluted and untreated; we can work to achieve this through reconstructed wetlands, rain gardens, more water friendly infrastructure than currently exists.” —  Rita and Shahira, The Rainway Project

Learn more about the Rainway Project 

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