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Metro Vancouver heatwave leads to near-record water consumption

Last Updated Jun 30, 2021 at 1:49 pm PDT

FILE: Metro Vancouver water reservoir. (John Streit, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

On Sunday, Metro Vancouver water consumption high 1.79 billion litres, close to the record of two billion litres

Regional district asks you limit how much water you use

Reservoir levels still in good shape, but Metro Vancouver worried about months ahead

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You’re being asked to limit how much water you use, as consumption in Metro Vancouver nears a record high.

On Sunday, when temperatures climbed into the 40s, daily consumption in the region hit 1.79 billion litres. That’s close to the all-time high of two billion litres consumed in one day back in 2009.

Malcolm Brodie, chair of Metro Vancouver’s Water Committee, says it’s unprecedented to see such high water demand this early in the summer.

Reservoir levels are still in good shape, but Metro Vancouver is worried about the months ahead, given more hot and dry weather in the forecast.

“We’re asking all residents and businesses to reduce their discretionary water use — such as watering lawns and washing cars — during the heatwave so that we may ensure an ample supply of drinking water for the rest of the season,” Brodie said.

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However, water restrictions aren’t changing at this time. You are still allowed to sprinkle the lawn twice a week, during the morning hours only. But if we don’t conserve water, that could change.

The region says one hour of rain or watering per week is all that’s needed to maintain a healthy lawn. It adds if you let the lawn go dormant during the summer months, the grass will still become green again in the fall.

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Looking to the future, the region says long-range climate projections for Metro Vancouver suggest we’ll be getting more than double the number of summer days with highs above 25 degrees.

“Longer drier spells and increased winter rainfall due to climate change will reduce the annual snowpack, affecting summer water supplies,” reads a statement from the regional district. It adds overall water demand will increase, as our population grows.

“Residents and business should continue to do their part to reduce their water use, as this will reduce overall demand on the water system, and could help defer costly water infrastructure projects,” Brodie said.

Current water restrictions are in place from May 1 to October 15 — Marilyn Towill, the general manager at Metro Vancouver says — adding they are monitoring water consumption very carefully.

“We are very fortunate in Metro Vancouver to have three good sources of drinking water but of course those are finite sources and if we continue to see the higher than normal use that we’re experiencing right now then we will need to consider what next steps we will need to take,” she said.

Towill is reminding people in the Metro Vancouver area to review the lawn watering regulations:

Residential lawn watering is allowed:

  • for even-numbed addresses Wednesday and Saturday mornings between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m.
  • for odd-numbered addresses Thursday and Sunday morning between 4 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Non- Residential lawn watering is allowed:

  • for even-number addresses Monday 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. and Friday 4 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • for odd-numbered addresses Tuesday 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. and Friday 4 a.m. to 9 a.m.

 

You are allowed to water trees, shrubs and flowers any day, from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. if you’re using a sprinkler. Or, if you’re using hand watering or using drip irrigation, you can water anytime.

All hoses must have an automatic shut-off device.

Edible plants are exempt from regulations.