2015 Drought: Metro Vancouver water use restrictions lifted as of October 15


Cleveland Dam - dropping water level (July 19, 2015) (Photo Credit: Cameron Stephens)

Cleveland Dam – dropping water level (July 19, 2015) (Photo Credit: Cameron Stephens)

BC’s Climate is Changing: Warmer & Wetter Winters; Longer & Drier Summers

All remaining seasonal water restrictions under Metro Vancouver’s water shortage response plan were lifted on Thursday, October 15. 2015.

Water level concerns first arose in early-2015 when the South Coast experienced warm temperatures and low snowpack levels – a main source of water for streams and rivers during the drier summer months and the meltwater runoff also replenishes reservoir water levels.

From June 1 to July 3, water usage in the region averaged a high of 1.48 billion litres per day when record hot temperatures caused a significant increase in water demand.

This fell to 1.41 billion litres per day from July 3 to July 20 during the year’s first Stage 2 period and 1.11 billion litres per day from July 20 to September 2 during the Stage 3 phase.

By mid-October the combined water storage levels for Capilano, Seymour and Coquitlam reservoirs were above 2014 levels and well within the normal range at this time of year.

During most summers, the regional district activates the minimal first stage of its Water Shortage Response Plan regardless of weather conditions, but this normally only lasts until September 30.


Drought Post-Mortem

Mayor-Greg-Moore_2013_120pGreg Moore, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Regional Board said that Metro Vancouver will be reviewing what went right and wrong during the water restrictions this summer. Moore said one of the issues they will be reviewing is why there was no real change in water consumption when Metro want from Stage 1 to Stage 2 water restrictions earlier this summer, one of the factors that led to the Stage 3 restrictions.

“I think the message got out there but maybe people didn’t understand the importance of Stage 2 or maybe the restrictions were confusing for people.”

MetroVan_2015 reservoirlevels_Oct11

With reservoir storage levels dropping, Metro Vancouver region moved to Stage 3 of Water Shortage Response Plan

On July 20, 2015 Metro Vancouver moved to Stage 3 water restrictions – for the first time since 2003 – banning all lawn sprinkling with treated drinking water and bringing in a number of other water conservation measures.Mayor_Darrell Mussatto 2014_trimmed_120p

“We are in uncharted territory, we’ve never had it this dry ever in recorded history,” said North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto, who also chairs Metro Vancouver’s Utility Committee.

“So we are under great stress at the reservoirs, consequentially we have to reduce our consumption.”

To Learn More:

To download an article published by the Vancouver Sun when water restrictions were lifted, click on Metro Vancouver eases water restrictions after recent rains