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Approved Changes to the Drinking Water Conservation Plan (DWCP)

Purpose of the DWCP

The DWCP is a regional plan that promotes water conservation and manages how residents, businesses, and member jurisdictions use drinking water during periods of high demand — mostly during late spring to early fall — as well as during water shortages and emergencies. It is implemented through member jurisdictions’ bylaws and each member is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the restrictions in their communities.

Purpose of Updating the DWCP

As you know this past summer our region experienced a record-breaking heatwave that resulted in unprecedented sustained high water use. Our daily water consumption hit 1.79 billion litres on June 27, just shy of the 2 billion litre all-time high set in 2009. The region also experienced sustained high water use above 1.5 billion litres per day, for 40 days, compared to the average of only 15 days during a typical summer. This summer we were fortunate that we could meet these high water demands due to the high snow pack, which we can’t rely on every year.

The heatwave highlighted the reality of the climate emergency and changing weather conditions, and the need for more proactive measures to secure the water supply. The long-range climate projections show that our region can expect longer summer dry spells and decreased winter snowpack, limiting summer water availability. Reduced lawn watering has been the most effective way to reduce seasonal demand for water and save treated drinking water for where it is needed most: for cooking, cleaning, and drinking during the dry summer months. With healthy lawns requiring only 1 hour of watering or rain per week, Metro Vancouver decided to update the DWCP to reduce lawn watering from two days to one day per week to reduce overall and seasonal demand for water.

DWCP Changes

New Stage 1 lawn watering periods:

  • Residential:

Even-numbered addresses on Saturdays and odd-numbered addresses on Sundays:

  • Automatic watering – from 5 am to 7 am
  • Manual watering – from 6 am to 9 am
  • Non-residential:

Even-numbered addresses on Mondays and odd-numbered addresses on Tuesdays:

  •  Automatic watering – from 4 am to 6 am
  •  Manual watering – from 6 am to 9 am

The proposed changes, combined with a strong education and enforcement program, will help reduce seasonal water demand and offer a number of regional benefits, including financial savings, potential deferral of major infrastructure projects, greenhouse gas reductions and operational flexibility for environmental flows.

Recources

DWCP webpage

DWCP summary document