Sprinkler watering the lawn

Parks and Recreation moves to Stage 2 water restrictions

August 3 2023 –

As of Friday, August 4, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation will conserve drinking water across 250 parks and greenspaces, in compliance with Stage 2 water restrictions.

Water restrictions are set by Metro Vancouver  (138 KB), and are determined by regional drinking reservoir levels. Due to an unseasonably warm and dry start to the summer, in addition to above average drinking water use across the region, reservoir levels must be protected from further depletion. 

Activating Stage 2 offers the best chance of conserving the region’s remaining supply of drinking water through continued drought forecast into the fall.  

Stage 2 watering restrictions in parks:

  • All aesthetic water features including ponds and fountains at Barclay Heritage Square, Laurel Landbridge, Bute and Haro, Davis and Helmcken Park will be switched off. 
  • Passive grass areas such as park lawns will not be watered.
  • Water features for cooling residents, including push-button spray parks and wading pools will remain operational.
  • Non-residential watering of trees, shrubs and flowers is permitted any day from 4am to 9am if using a sprinkler, or any time if hand watering or using drip irrigation.
  • Community vegetable gardens can be watered at any time.
  • Watering golf courses and playing fields is reduced in alignment with their approved water use plans.

Golf courses

All 3 of the Park Board’s golf courses – Langara, McCleery and Fraserview – adhere to water management plans in line with both Metro Vancouver and the City of Vancouver’s Drinking Water Conservation policies. These plans specify the allowable volume of potable (drinking) water used for irrigation, maintenance and facilities throughout summer months.

Langara Golf Course, which has the largest irrigation area of the 3, relies entirely on a natural underground water source for irrigation. McCleery and Fraserview use both potable and non-potable water, sourced from rain and storm water collection, drainage and ground water seepage. 

Reducing water use in parks year-round

The Park Board actively works to prioritize and conserve water across the park system to support Vancouver’s growing population and build resilience against ongoing impacts of climate change.  

Work continues in planting pollinator meadows, which help to retain water in the ground, alongside strategic planting of trees in lower canopy areas to improve moisture retention, shade coverage and air quality.

Staff are finalizing the Water Priority Action Plan, and the Water Assets Condition Assessment and Rehabilitation Planning Study to be presented to the Board this fall.

These plans will: 

  • Achieve a 10 per cent reduction in drinking water use from 2019 levels.
  • Support habitats and ecosystems to be more resilient to a changing climate.
  • Enable Park Board staff to continue providing critical services in parks and recreation facilities.
  • Create an inventory and a condition status of water feature assets, including repair cost estimates, to prioritize rehabilitation.  

More details on water conservation in parks can be found here.

Residents can check water use restrictions online at vancouver.ca/water-restrictions and learn how to reduce personal water consumption here.