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Watering restrictions begin on May 1

Be water wise with these easy tips

May 1 2019 –

Starting today, the City of Vancouver will be implementing watering restrictions, allowing watering two days a week. 

“Seasonal watering restrictions are an important part of making sure everyone has access to drinking water during the dry summer months,” said Daniel Roberge, Director of Water & Sewers. “Climate change and growing population have placed mounting pressure on regional water supplies, and restrictions like these help to maintain treated drinking water for where it’s needed most — cooking, cleaning and drinking — while still allowing for healthy landscapes.”

Permitted watering times (Stage 1)

Even with watering restrictions, Vancouver’s water use doubles in the summer due to lawn and garden watering. Lawns in Vancouver generally need only one inch of water for one hour each week, including rainfall, to stay healthy and green. Residents can check their permitted watering through the VanConnect app or online

Lawn watering days for residential addresses

  • Even-numbered addresses: 4am to 9am on Wednesdays and Saturdays
  • Odd-numbered addresses: 4am to 9am on Thursdays and Sundays

Lawn watering days for non-residential addresses

  • Even-numbered addresses: 1am to 6am on Mondays 
  • Odd-numbered addresses: 1am to 6am on Tuesdays 
  • All addresses: 4am to 9am on Fridays

Watering outside of the permitted times is a by-law offence. City staff are actively on patrol, and violations will result in a fine of $250 to $1000. 

What we are doing

The City’s Engineering Department and Vancouver Park Board have been working together on numerous projects to reduce the use of treated drinking water at parks and public spaces across Vancouver. To date, significant progress has been made by focusing on the largest water users. 

  • A shared Water Conservation Action Plan is resulting in more efficient irrigation methods in parks across the city.
  • Significant water savings are also being realized in major destination parks. Last year, modifications were made to Queen Elizabeth Park’s waterfall, resulting in a 60% reduction in water use. Similarly the Zoo Stream in Stanley Park was turned off resulting in major water savings.
  • VanDusen Garden is working to convert 70% of its irrigation from potable to groundwater water through construction of a groundwater well on site.
  • All of the city’s 14 spray parks have been converted to self-activated push buttons, eliminating wasted water at these facilities.

Preparing for summer fires

Vancouver Fire Rescue Services implements summer changes to limit non-essential water use at its Firehalls and in the community. Watering vegetation might seem like a good way to reduce outdoor fires, however the surrounding loam, mulch and organic material is often too dry for watering to be effective. Preventing outdoor fires is as easy as disposing of all smoking material in appropriate containers! Discarded butts are almost exclusively the cause of outdoor fires in Vancouver, and since 2017 improper disposal could be met with a $500 fine.  

Three easy ways to be water wise this summer

Minimizing outdoor water use is the single biggest thing residents can do in the summer to ensure treated drinking water isn’t wasted.

  • Check your irrigation system: To help residents adjust their irrigation systems, the City is running the Irrigation Assessment program again this year to walk residents through their watering system and make sure it is set to match water regulations free of charge. Learn more
  • Avoid washing your car on the street: Washing vehicles in the flushes soap and grease into curb drains, polluting our waterways. Using automated car washes, which capture and send wastewater for treatment, can help to reduce the number of contaminants entering waterways — or better yet, let your car go dirty this summer to save treated drinking water.
  • Let your lawn go gold: Do the simplest thing of all and let your lawn go gold, or dormant, through the summer. Even just one hour of lawn watering can use as much water as 25 toilet flushes, 5 loads of laundry, and 5 dishwasher loads combined. 

Find more on how you can reduce your water consumption