Updated: Rain, restrictions cut Metro Vancouver water use below target

Reservoirs still very low despite usage drop below 1.2 billion litres, stage 3 restrictions here to stay

Despite reduced consumption, Metro Vancouver reservoirs (red line) have not yet curved back into the normal range.

Another weekly decline in Metro Vancouver’s reservoirs to 66 per cent capacity means stage 3 water use restrictions are here to stay until well into the fall.

“I don’t see this changing,” Metro water utilities committee chair Darrell Mussatto said of the toughest conservation measures imposed in 12 years.

“The reservoirs are still under stress. We need significant amounts of rainfall to get them back into normal levels.”

RELATED:Lawn sprinkling banned as Metro Vancouver declares stage 3 water limits

The three per cent drop in the total water supply came despite a sharp decrease in water consumption in the region thanks to cool rainy weekend weather and last week’s move to stage 3 restrictions, which ban all lawn sprinkling.

The region had set a target of cutting water use to no more than 1.2 billion litres of water per day when it declared stage 3 on July 20.

Regional usage fell from 1.48 billion that day to the 1.2 billion target last Thursday.

As wetter weather arrived and fewer residents felt the need to water plants, the numbers dropped further – to 1.05 billion Friday, 1.02 billion Saturday, 1.0 billion Sunday and 1.07 billion Monday.

“Those are good numbers,” Mussatto said, adding the vast majority of residents are respecting the sprinkling ban and other tougher restrictions.

But he urged residents to remain vigilant.

“We don’t want to be complacent,” Mussatto said.

He estimated 100 millilmetres of rain is required to bring the regional water supply up into the midst of its normal range for this time of year.

“We’re going into what is traditionally the driest part of the year,” he noted.

If consumption can be held to no more than 1.2 billion litres per day, Metro officials estimate the reservoirs will have enough water to meet demand even if no rain falls until November.

The province previously declared a level four drought across southwestern B.C. after unprecedented low snowpacks and virtually no rainfall since May combined to cause record low streamflows.

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