Metro Vancouver relaxes water use restrictions

Lawn sprinkling, car washing resumes as return of rains allow regional district to drop conservation measures to Stage 2

Recent rains have pushed Metro Vancouver's water supply back into the normal range for this time of year, at 60 per cent of capacity.

Metro Vancouver has returned to Stage 2 water restrictions – allowing once-a-week lawn sprinkling and car washing once again – after recent heavy rains helped refill the regional district’s reservoirs.

And Metro utilities committee chair Darrell Mussatto said the region may soon return to the routine, minimal water conservation measures of summer.

“If we don’t get any more hot, dry weather we could go back to Stage 1 in a week or two,” he said.

The regional district’s latest measurement of its water supply released Wednesday showed it held steady at 60 per cent capacity and is now in the middle of the normal range for this time of year.

Stage 3 restrictions were imposed July 20, banning all lawn sprinkling with Metro water as well as pressure washing and the refilling of pools and water features.

At Stage 2, those uses can resume, but pressure washing is only permitted for health and safety not asthetic purposes, and car washing is to be done only with automatic shutoff hose nozzles.

Early morning lawn sprinkling can resume on Mondays for even-numbered homes and Thursdays for odd addresses.

Stage 3 limits succeeded in keeping daily water use capped at a target of 1.2 billion litres per day, a level Metro calculated could be sustained until November with no rains if necessary.

Mussatto credited the extraordinary conservation efforts of residents.

“We had extreme stress on our reservoirs this year,” he said, noting the record low snowpack and months of hot, dry weather earlier in the spring and summer.

“Our residents and our reservoirs did extremely well. They responded to the regulations and they made adjustments when they needed to.”

Mussatto said residents should expect at least Stage 1 restrictions to still remain in place past the end of September, when summer water conservation measures typically expire.

He said the regional district will also consider an early start to water restrictions than June 1 in future years as a precaution against another severe drought year.

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