Watering restrictions by the numbers

A look at enforcement of the Metro Vancouver bylaw since restrictions went into play May 15.

Langley Advance files

by Jennifer Saltman

Special to the Langley Advance

All 21 municipalities in Metro Vancouver, from Langley to Lions Bay, were asked what bylaw enforcement they have done since Stage 1 watering restrictions came into effect May 15.

Three municipalities – White Rock, Lions Bay, and Bowen Island – don’t receive water from the Metro system, and two others didn’t respond:

12 weeks

Each year, Metro imposes watering restrictions on its member municipalities from May 15 until Oct. 15 in an effort to conserve water at a time when water use can increase by 50 per cent. After almost 12 weeks, restrictions remain at Stage 1, which means lawn-watering rules are in effect and there are some restrictions on activities such as outdoor car-washing, golf-course watering, and hosing of artificial turf and outdoor tracks. Restrictions could move to a higher stage in the event of extreme drought or unusually high demand.

78 per cent

Reservoir storage levels for Metro were at 78 per cent of maximum as of July 30, which is well within the normal range for this time of year and higher than the past two years. Metro began the season with a normal snowpack, lots of rain and nearly full source lakes.

209 tickets

Sixteen municipalities have issued a total of 209 violation tickets for disobeying watering restrictions. Vancouver issued 186 tickets, the most of any municipality.

Those tickets are worth a minimum of $250 each and 116 have been paid to date. The rest haven’t been served, are unpaid or are being disputed. Port Moody issued the next-highest number of tickets, with 11.

A total of $825 in fines was levied, with $450 paid to date. Coquitlam issued six tickets, Delta three, Surrey issued two and New Westminster one ticket. Ten municipalities haven’t issued any violation tickets to date.

1,102 warnings

Almost all municipalities had issued written or oral warnings to residents who had violated watering restrictions.

Vancouver again led the count with 418 water-restriction reminder letters sent to property owners in response to reported watering violations. Burnaby has handed out 213 first-warning letters and 19 second-warning letters.

Tickets are issued after two warnings.

Delta issued 99 warnings, which involves bylaw officers giving in-person warnings to the offenders. Maple Ridge has spoken to 52 residents to inform them that they’re watering outside the restrictions, six of whom required a second visit. The rest issued 50 or fewer warnings each.

– Jennifer Saltman is a writer with The Province

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