It’s dry season for lawns.
Starting Monday, homeowners can water their lawn once a week. The annual water restrictions are set to extend until October 15.
“We are increasingly seeing variable weather patterns due to climate change, and we can’t always count on rainfall to replenish our water supply when we need it,” stated Metro Vancouver’s board of directors chair George V. Harvie in a press release.
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Residents with an even-numbered address can use automatic lawn watering on Saturdays between 5 and 7 a.m. and manual watering from 6 to 9 a.m.
Residents with odd-numbered addresses can water their lawns on Sundays, following the same schedule.
Residents can use sprinklers to water trees, shrubs and flowers between 5 and 9 a.m. any day of the week. If watering by hand or using drip irrigation, trees, shrubs and flowers can be watered any time.
Business and non-residents with even-numbered addresses can water on Mondays with automatic watering allowed between 4 and 6 a.m. and manual watering permitted between 6 and 9 a.m.
Businesses with odd-numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays with the same schedule.
Edible plants are exempt from water restrictions. The regulations also don’t apply to any type of recycled water.
Last year’s drought
Over five months from May to October, water levels at Metro Vancouver’s three reservoirs fell by about 56 percent – far more than typical. At the tail end of the 2022 drought, water levels were down 23 billion litres compared to 2020 and down 41 billion litres compared to 2015.
It’s important cities incentivize water conservation, explained Zafar Adeel, a professor at Simon Fraser University’s school of sustainable energy engineering and the executive director of the Pacific Water Research Centre.
Speaking to the Dispatch last year, Adeel advocated for water metering as a way to reward households that are diligent with water use.
“By getting water to people at a flat rate, you are providing a disincentive for conservation.”
In general, incentives are more effective than restrictions, Adeel explained.
“Restrictions on their own have limited effectiveness,” he said, noting a few of his neighbour have managed to maintain “lush green” lawns during the drought. “The messages are not being received well or people don’t care.”
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