Water Use Restrictions

NOTICE: Metro Vancouver has extended Stage 1 of the Drinking Water Conservation Plan from Oct. 15 to Oct. 31 due to the ongoing warm and dry weather. The decision to extend Stage 1 is being made based on careful consideration of several factors such as weather forecast, seasonal water demand and compliance trends, resiliency planning, and current and projected storage capacity at Metro Vancouver reservoirs.

Water restrictions are part of the regional Drinking Water Conservation Plan set by Metro Vancouver.

Regional water-use restrictions are in effect May 1 to October 15, regardless of the weather.

All activities prohibited in emergency Stage 4.

Regulations in effect from May 1 to October 15:

Stage 1 Lawn Watering – Residential

  • Even-numbered addresses may water Saturday mornings
  • Odd-numbered addresses may water Sunday mornings
  • Automatic watering: 5:00 to 7:00 a.m.
  • Manual watering: 6:00 to 9:00 a.m.

Watering trees, shrubs, and flowers is permitted any day from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. if using a sprinkler, or any time if hand watering or using drip irrigation. All hoses must have an automatic shut-off device. Edible plants are excluded from the restrictions.

Stage 1 Lawn Watering – Non-residential and Governments/Schools/Parks

  • Even-numbered addresses may water Monday mornings
  • Odd-numbered addresses may water Tuesday mornings
  • Automatic watering: 4:00 to 6:00 a.m.
  • Manual watering: 6:00 to 9:00 a.m.
  • Watering soil-based or sand-based playing fields: 7pm to 9am

Watering trees, shrubs, and flowers is permitted any day from 4:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. if using a sprinkler, or any time if hand watering or using drip irrigation. All hoses must have an automatic shut-off device. Edible plants are excluded from the restrictions.

Exemption permits are available for new lawns or lawns being treated for the European Chafer Beetle.

Stage 2 Lawn Watering

Prohibited for Residential and Non-Residential uses.

Nurseries, farms, golf courses and businesses are excluded from Stage 1 and 2 restrictions. The restrictions reduce the likelihood of moving to Stage 3 restrictions that impact businesses such as golf courses, car washes and commercial cleaning services.

The City’s Program Ambassadors and Metro Vancouver staff will be out in the community to educate, monitor and enforce the new restrictions. Non-compliance can result in warnings, tickets, and fines.

Stage 1 & 2 Exemptions

Residential Lawn Watering Allowed:

  • Outdoor car washing and boat washing with a hose with spring-loaded shut off nozzle only
  • Watering new, unestablished lawns outside of regulated times requires a municipal permit (see below)
  • Exemption permits are also available for new lawns or lawns being treated for the European Chafer Beetle (see below)
  • Golf course operators requested to cut water use on fairways as much as possible
  • Watering school yards and sports fields from 7 pm to 9 am any day

Did you know one hour of sprinkling per week is all most yards need?

These restrictions are crucial to managing the demand for drinking water during the summer period, and are Stage 1 of the region’s Water Shortage Response Plan.

As set out in the Plan, during long, dry periods, it may become necessary to further restrict watering. Details will be available here, as well as through various media sources.

Watering Permit Application

A new lawn – placing of sod, turf or by seeding – or landscaping requires a permit in order to be exempt from the lawn watering restrictions.

  • A permit allows lawn watering for three hours on any day of the week between 4:00am and 9:00am for the duration of the permit.
  • The permit is $30 and is valid for a period of 21 days from the date of issuance.
  • To apply, complete the application form online

Note: This permit is only valid during Stage 1 and 2 water restriction levels and will not be valid if the region moves into Stage 3 or 4 watering restriction levels.

Permit for Nematodes Application

Nematodes, a microscopic worm that can control European Chafer Beetle, are most effective when applied in late July. As your lawn must be watered thoroughly before and after a nematode application, you can apply for a water exemption permit from the City. Please refer to our European Chafer Beetle page to learn more.  Please note, the permit:

  • Can be applied during the period of June 1 and August 31.
  • Is valid for a period of 21 days from the permit issue date and can only be applied to the area of lawn treated with nematodes.

Complete and submit the online application form. A permit will be automatically issued to you. Print the permit and post on your lawn.

Note: this permit is only valid during Stage 1 and 2 water restriction levels and will not be renewed if the region moves into Stage 3 or 4 water restriction levels. Permits issued in Stages 1 or 2 remain in effect until permit expires.