Water sprinkling will be cut to just one day a week and other water use restrictions will also kick in if Metro Vancouver moves to stage 2 restrictions.

Metro Vancouver eyes declining water reservoir levels

Stage 2 restrictions possible if hot, dry weather, increased water demand persists

Drinking water reservoir levels have fallen rapidly in Metro Vancouver and tougher water use restrictions are a conservation option.

A move to stage 2 restrictions could, if necessary, be directed by the regional district’s water commissioner, according to Metro utilities committee chair Darrell Mussatto.

He said he wouldn’t be surprised if that happened by July 3, but Metro water services general manager Tim Jervis said Thursday his department does not yet anticipate a need to go to stage 2.

“We had a record dry May, June is very dry and we’ve got hot weather coming up,” said Mussatto, mayor of North Vancouver City. “We need either some rain to fall in significant amounts to get the reservoirs back up or we’re going to have to look at curtailing use.”

Under Metro’s Water Shortage Response Plan, stage 2 restrictions would force residential lawn sprinkling to be cut to one day a week, ban aesthetic washing of driveways and sidewalks, as well as much use of pressure washers.

Fountains and water features would be shut down and water play parks could only run with kid-activated buttons under stage 2 restrictions. (See chart below for details.)

Watering of school yards, sports fields, park lawns, cemeteries, boulevards and golf course fairways would be cut to minimal levels, in most cases once a week.

DOCUMENT:Metro Vancouver’s Water Shortage Response Plan

Mussatto said the lack of rain and hot weather has been a “double whammy” driving demand up – water use is running 17 per cent above last year’s rate so far.

On top of all that, the region had near-record low snow accumulation in the mountains, so the typical inflow into reservoirs is greatly reduced.

Metro’s reservoirs were at 83 per cent capacity as of Wednesday but a graph comparing the water supply to historic trends shows an alarmingly steep drop in recent weeks towards record low levels.

“That red line is not where we would like to see it,” Mussatto said.

“The reservoirs are not getting filled up and we’re using more than we normally would, which is not a good combination.”

 

He urges home owners to stop watering lawns altogether as he has done.

“You don’t need to water your lawn. It goes dormant. It doesn’t die.”

People used to hosing down driveways and pressure washing decks should switch to a broom, he said.

The region has asked BC Hydro to reserve extra water from the Coquitlam reservoir, which the Crown corporation manages, in case it’s required for drinking water. The region would have to pay Hydro up to $600,000 if it taps the extra water that might otherwise be used to generate electricity.

Stage 3 and stage 4 water restrictions could be imposed under Metro’s Water Shortage Response Plan to further conserve water, if necessary.

At stage 3, all lawn sprinkling is banned, and hot tubs and pools can’t be refilled.

At stage 4, all watering of plants with treated drinking water is banned, all car washes, water parks and public outdoor pools shut down, and many other water uses are allowed only if ordered for health and safety reasons.

Mussatto said the region has only ever briefly imposed stage 2 and 3 water restrictions, in 2002.

Stage one restrictions are the standard rules that run from June through September allowing thrice weekly lawn sprinkling from 4 to 9 a.m.

Larvae of the European chafer beetle are yummy to birds and other predators that dig up lawns in search of them. Wikimedia Commons photo

Chafer beetle infestation worsens water woes

An invasive species is getting part of the blame for rising water demand in Metro Vancouver.

European chafer beetles have infested a much wider area over the winter and regional district officials expect an upswing in water demand as homeowners reseed and water damaged lawn areas.

It’s yet another factor adding to the impetus to impose stringent water use rules.

“We’re asking people to hold off and not to replant their lawns until the fall,” said Metro utilities committee chair Darrell Mussatto, adding infested turf should be removed and destroyed.

Lawns infested by the beetles typically get destroyed by predators such as raccoons, skunks and crows that dig into the grass to feast on the beetle grubs.

Many homeowners combat the beetles with nematodes – microscopic roundworms that devour the beetle larvae.

That strategy requires moist soil conditions to work and more sprinkling as a result.

Some cities give blanket approval for watering of nematode-treated lawns outside the allowed times, while others require a short-term exemption permit.

They’re expected to adopt a common approach of allowing frequent watering of treated lawns for up to two weeks between 4 and 9 a.m.

Chafer beetles were first spotted in New Westminster in 2001 but have spread as far as UBC, the North Shore, the Tri Cities, Surrey, Richmond and Delta.

The best defence against the arrival of the beetles is a healthy lawn, according to Metro, and mowing at a height of 6 to 9 centimetres can help.

Water Shortage Response Plan by Jeff Nagel

Just Posted

Langley Township goes high tech to spotlight local history

To mark the start of History Week, the Township has put out a new app all about the community.

Abbotsford goes up 2-0 on Langley

Pilots win both games on home ice, series now shifts to Langley

Kodiaks begin best-of-seven series strong

The Kodiaks opened their quarter-final playoff series by defeating the Delta Ice Hawks on home ice.

Heritage proposal for Aldergrove fire hall at a ‘standstill’

The Alder Grove Heritage Society faces a delay in knowing the fate of the fire hall due to tenants slated to live in the building until 2020.

VIDEO: Langley hosting high-flying fun at annual gymnastics tournament

Action runs Friday through Sunday at the Langley Events Centre fieldhouse.

VIDEO: Langley hosting high-flying fun at annual gymnastics tournament

Action runs Friday through Sunday at the Langley Events Centre fieldhouse.

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Stabbing at Lower Mainland banquet hall sends man to hospital

RCMP says victim has ‘non-life threatening’ injuries, incident still under investigation

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Most Read