Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Yes, We Need the Lawn Watering Police in Metro Vancouver

With winter weather, summer water usage is likely the furthest thing from people's minds. Still, the Metro Vancouver Regional District recently evaluated this summer's water utilization and the effectiveness of water restrictions to plan for next summer and the future.

The following graph shows that overall water availability in Metro Vancouver reservoirs was within normal ranges this past summer. However, water utilization was 5.4% higher in 2023 compared to 2022, so the Regional District activated Stage 2 water restriction in August.

Total Source Water Storage for Metro Vancouver Over Summer Months. Select the chart to enlarge.

While Stage 2 water restrictions did help lower water utilization, the data showed that people were still watering their lawns, which is banned in Stage 2 water restrictions. The Regional District noted that it will need to enhance education, and municipalities will need to increase enforcement to help further limit water utilization when restrictions are in place. It might sound silly, but lawn watering is a significant threat to the availability of drinking water.

The Regional District is looking at increasing the water reservoir capacity, but this is a costly process that takes many years to build out. Even with reservoir expansion, population growth and climate change mean that water conversation will continue to be critical during summer, and our conservation efforts will need to increase.

I'm from the Okanagan, and many people replaced classic grass lawns with native and drought-tolerant landscaping to help converse water. This change in landscaping will likely be something that people will need to consider in our region over the coming decades to help ensure the availability of drinking water.


Anonymous said...

I do follow the water regulations put in place, however every year we get an email from out Strata Corporation telling us to make sure we water the plants around our complex so that they don’t die and need replacing. And I see.several people watering the plants every day in total disregard of any watering regulations put in place.

Anonymous said...

While stage 2 bans watering lawns, you are still allowed to water shrubs and trees. They don't need to be watered as often, however. Once every two or three weeks is plenty of you water deeply with a drip or soaker hose. This will keep them alive and doing their work of cooling and shading.