Metro Vancouver to begin lawn sprinkling restrictions earlier

Regional district will start Stage 1 restrictions on May 15 next year after scare with severe drought in 2015

The Coquitlam reservoir is one of the drinking water sources that supply Metro Vancouver.

Metro Vancouver will begin its standard  Stage 1 lawn sprinkling restrictions two weeks earlier next year and they’ll be in place two weeks later into the fall.

That three times a week sprinkling limit will apply from May 15 to Oct. 15 in 2016.

It’s hoped the earlier start to sprinkling restrictions will mean more drinking water is retained in the regional district’s reservoirs heading into summer and reduce the amount of time that officials might have to impose more stringent water use limits if severe drought strikes again.

“We’re trying to minimize the impact on residents should we have another drought like we did in late spring or early summer,” said Metro utilities committee chair Darrell Mussatto.

Metro is planning a review of its Water Shortage Response Plan this winter, with public consultations, to help decide what other water policy changes should be made.

It’s weighing whether there shiould be greater leniency for commercial pressure washing operations and for owners of newly seeded lawns, both of which are currently required to halt water use when Stage 3 is reached.

The review is expected to lead to some policy amendments in time for the summer of 2016, and an overhauled plan by the summer of 2017.

Metro officials declared Stage 3 restrictions in late July for the first time since 2003 after weeks of hot dry weather pushed the regional water supply down to record low levels.