Reducing potable water use

Vancouver’s potable water supplies are strained by climate change and rapid population growth. We’re working to prioritize water use to where it’s needed most.

Our city’s water supply comes from 3 reservoirs (Capilano, Seymour, and Coquitlam) and we share this limited supply with the 22 other member jurisdictions of Metro Vancouver .

Our population is growing rapidly and we face increasingly frequent and severe drought and heat events throughout our summers, when demand for water is at its highest.

We need to use water to keep people and pets cool and hydrated, to irrigate drought-sensitive plants and trees, to provide sanitation services, and for many other uses.

Water Priority Action Plan

In 2017, the Park Board approved the 2017 to 2020 Park Board Water Conservation Action Plan. This plan was created to align with the 2011 Greenest City Action Plan. Since then, the Park Board has met its water use reduction target of 33% from a 2006 baseline.

In December 2023, the Park Board approved an updated Water Priority Action Plan to further guide operational decisions about the use of drinking water in parks and recreation facilities from 2023 to 2028.

Implementing this plan will help us: 

  • Achieve a 10% reduction in potable water use from 2019 levels
  • Support habitats and ecosystems to be more resilient to a changing climate
  • Help us to continue providing critical services in parks and recreation facilities

Review the Water Priority Action Plan (8.2 MB)

Water features across the city

Local and regional by-laws and policies prohibit the operation of features that do not re-use (recirculate) drinking water. These laws affect certain water features under Park Board management, such as some older fountains that are broken or were not designed for recirculation. 

Funding for rehabilitation

A 2023 Asset Condition study found that the total cost of rehabilitating all non-compliant features exceeds the Park Board’s available funding for such repairs. On December 11, 2023, Park Board Commissioners directed staff to use the available funds to rehabilitate 11 decorative fountains, ponds, and waterfalls throughout the city. Non-compliant features that were not selected for rehabilitation are required to remain off in compliance with local and regional by-laws.

Review the Dec 11 report or watch the recorded meeting

Water features selected for reinvestment

  • Queen Elizabeth Park Dancing Waters fountain
  • Queen Elizabeth Park waterfall
  • Memorial South Park pond
  • David Lam fountain
  • Granville Loop Park fountain
  • Emery Barnes Park fountain
  • Marina Square fountain
  • VanDusen Gardens rectangular pond
  • Cardero Park fountain
  • Nelson Park fountain
  • Cathedral Square Park fountain

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