Metro Vancouver dances lightly on water abuse

Post by Mike Klassen in


dry lake bed
North Vancouver resident Chris Kipplewich loves that he can now off-road in the dried up Capilano Reservoir

Since the early days of we've had some tough questions for our overlords at Metro Vancouver, such as "what exactly do you do?" We've also wondered if our precious tax dollars were being well-spent on a half-billion dollar tunnel project attempting to link the Seymour and Capilano water reservoirs. That tunnel of course is in extreme limbo, with Metro being sued by its former contractor Bilfinger Berger Canada.

We thought also in what amounts to a four-month drought in Southern BC, that is leading to unprecented forest fire activity outside the Lower Mainland, that Metro Vancouver officials might call for the public to engage in more responsible water use instead of dumping it on their lawns. Now we know that it snowed a lot last winter, and thanks to's coverage on Snowmageddon so does Mayor Robertson. But does that mean we can use water willy-nilly?

Apparently not if this recent report in the Vancouver Sun is an indication. "Don't waste water" comes the cry now from Metro:

Despite the demand, [Vancouver Councillor] Tim Stevenson, chair of Metro Vancouver’s water committee, said there is, as yet, no move to order further restrictions.

Metro’s water supply from the Capilano, Seymour and Coquitlam reservoirs, as well as three alpine storage lakes, is currently at 78 per cent of total storage capacity, “well within the normal operating range for this time of year,” Stevenson said in a media statement.

Commenters on the Sun story also weigh in with a mix of alarm and skepticism.

Here in Kerrisdale the majority of home owners ignore the restrictions. I see sprinklers on during the day, sidewalks blocked by sprinklers, and in a few homes they seem to run non-stop from the afternoon right through the night. I had a chat with the enforcement department here in Vancouver, and was told that their department has NEVER enforced the restrictions. It is a criminal matter apparently, and can't be enforced by bylaw enforcement officers.

Tell you what....stop wasting taxpayers' money and I'll stop wasting water.

I notice some housese [sic] have the sprinkles on more than twice a week in the Oakridge area where I live. Looks like there is no enforcement of this bylaw.

In the last week, I have seen 2 people in the West End watering their pavement! please, use a broom to remove the dust and leaves. I wish I had the nerve to say something directly.

With no signs of any real precipitation on the horizon, it's possible that Vancouver's rainy season may not kick in for a couple of months. We're unlikely to run right out of water in the Lower Mainland anytime soon, but why not challenge the public to think about the real cost of pouring millions of litres of potable water on your lawns?

But that would require leadership, wouldn't it? When it comes to that precious commodity, we're definitely running dry.


whatever, even if there is a "water ban" it does'nt apply to strata units. I spent my morning sipping coffee, smoking a cigar (5 feet from the front door too) and happily watering my lawn. Screw the city and screw the environment and screw the earth hugging eco nazis - you can all **** ** ****. I will water when i want, and without worry. Your laws do not apply to those that do not give their consent to be governed.


Another example of how impotent our bylaws are. No enforcement, no compliance.

Tim Stevenson is just wasting his breath, people will never conserve until water is metered and there is a cost to using more water. Do you think people would bother to turn their lights off if electricity wasn't metered?

The city should be more forward thinking and require water meters to be installed in new construction even if they are not yet monitored. This way there would be a growing base of homes that are metered and when the day comes that water must be metered then the process would be easier to switch over.

What about water meters for all new EcoDensity (laneway) housing that's about to be built in Vancouver? That would help to set a higher environmental standard.

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