Water restrictions and lawn sprinkling permits

Water use across the region can increase by 50% in summer and early fall, for swimming pools, growing food, maintaining sports fields, and other social and community-building uses.

But a lot of water is also used to green our lawns, wash our decks or driveways, and for other lower-priority uses. Metro Vancouver's region-wide watering regulations are an effective way to help use our drinking water wisely.

When you can water under Metro's regulations

Metro's Water Conservation Plan is designed to reduce demand for drinking water through specific water restrictions, which are implemented in four stages (the higher the stage, the more restrictive).  Summer restrictions take effect on May 1 each year, and remain in place until October 15.

Stage 1 restrictions are currently in effect as of May 1, 2018

Residential lawn watering hours

House number  Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4
Even
(eg. 2330 Smith Ave)
Wed, 4am-9am
Sat, 4am-9am
Wed, 4am-9am
Sat, 4am-9am
None allowed None allowed
Odd
(eg. 2331 Smith Ave)
Thur, 4am-9am
Sun, 4am-9am
Thur, 4am-9am
Sun, 4am-9am
None allowed None allowed

 

Non-residential lawn watering hours

House number  Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4
Even
(eg. 2330 Smith Ave)
Mon, 1am-6am
Fri, 4am-9am
Mon, 1am-6am
 
None allowed None allowed
Odd
(eg. 2331 Smith Ave)
Tue, 1am-6am
Fri, 4am-9am
Tue, 1am-6am None allowed None allowed

 

Hours for other residential water uses

Type of use Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4
Shrubs, plants, trees Any time
  • hand watering
  • drip irrigation
  • spring-loaded shut off nozzles
Limited
  • Sprinklers, 4am-9am (any day)
Any time
  • hand watering
  • drip irrigation
  • spring-loaded shut off nozzles
Limited
  • Sprinklers 4am-9am (any day)
Any time
  • hand watering
  • drip irrigation
  • spring-loaded shut off nozzles 
None
Vegetable gardens Allowed Allowed Allowed Not allowed
Car and boat washing Spring-loaded shut off nozzles only Spring-loaded shut off nozzles only For safety only
(Car washes open)
For safety only
(Car washes closed)
Surface and power washing Allowed For safety or painting only
(Commercial businesses exempt)
For safety or painting only (Commercial business example) Not allowed (unless ordered by a regulatory authority)

Learn more about watering rules and restrictions

For complete details of Metro's water stages, and to find out more detail about what you can and can't do during each stage, review their Drinking Water Conservation Plan Summary:

Metro Vancouver's Drinking Water Conservation Plan Summary

Applying for a lawn sprinkling permit

If you are applying nematodes to your lawn to treat a chafer beetle infestation, or you are installing a new lawn, you may qualify for a lawn sprinkling permit, which allows you to water your lawn outside of the times specified in the restrictions. The permit allows you to water every day of the week between 4am and 9am.

A permit costs $50 and is good for 21 days. The fee is waived if you show that you have purchased nematodes.

Learn more about controlling chafer beetles

Download the lawn sprinkling application form