You can only water your lawn once a week in Metro Vancouver this spring

The grass will not always be greener in Metro Vancouver as new lawn watering rules are set to come into effect.

Starting May 1, residential properties will only be allowed to water once a week during Stage 1 of the Drinking Water Conservation Plan, cutting last year’s allowable days in half. Those caught watering outside of their designated day and times could face a hefty fine, depending on the city, Vancouverites could see a $250 ticket.

Even-numbered addresses (ends with 0,2,4,6, and 8) can turn on the taps with automatic watering systems on Saturdays between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. Manual watering is allowed between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. Those with odd-numbered addresses follow the same timing schedule, but will be allowed to water on Sundays.

Watering trees, shrubs or flowers is allowed any morning between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. if using a sprinkler. Holding the hose? You can water whenever you like and there are no limits for those who are watering their vegetable gardens, as edible plants are exempt from regulations.

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Businesses and other non-residential properties are a whole different can of worms, and are allowed to water Monday or Tuesdays mornings, depending on the address.

Metro Vancouver Board of Directors chair Sav Dhaliwal says the enhanced restrictions are ahead of another anticipated hot and dry summer.

“Last summer, our region experienced a record-breaking heatwave that resulted in unprecedented and sustained high water use. This challenging event, during which we were confronted with the urgency of the climate emergency, highlighted the need to further reduce consumption of water for cosmetic outdoor uses through the whole summer, so we can get through the dry spells without requiring a switch mid-season to Stage 2 restrictions,” Dhaliwal said.

If the authority deems it necessary, it will move to Stage 2, and no lawn watering will be permitted for residential or non-residential properties.

Metro Vancouver’s Water Committee chair Malcolm Brodie says water conservation is not just about water shortages, as even during the heatwaves last summer the reservoirs were in good shape.

“Good conservation habits are an important part of how we continue to meet our region’s water needs, now and into the future,” Brodie said, adding “just one hour of rain or watering per week is all a lawn needs to remain healthy.”

The restrictions do not apply to the use of rain water, grey water, recycled water, or other sources of water outside the regional and municipal water supply system.

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