How to thrive in a Vancouver drought

Cartoon by Rob Cottingham

Locals who have the good sense to use their grey water or captured rain water to keep their gardens green and lush may have to post a sign explaining their environmentally savvy system to watering vigilantes.

Green vegetation is not necessarily the result of treated drinking water from one of our depleted reservoirs; it could — and in many cases should — be nurtured by second-use household water.

A grey water system may be as simple as washing dishes in a dishpan, then tossing the rinse water onto plants. Rain water catchment is still a novelty in the city but all the climate statistics show that the day may come when all households with have access to gutters will need to install a rain barrel to save all that rain for a sunny day.

For the convenience of those who are confused over what can be watered with the city's supply of treated drinking water, check out this chart from the City of Vancouver's own website:

Current water restrictions: Stage 3

Activity

Restrictions

Residential lawn sprinkling

All forms of watering using treated drinking water are prohibited.

Non-Residential lawn sprinkling

All forms of watering using treated drinking water are prohibited.

New (unestablished) residential and commercial lawns, trees, shrubs, and  flowers

No new permits issued or renewed. All forms of watering using treated drinking water are prohibited.

Flowers and vegetable gardens, decorative planters, shrubs, and trees

Only if done by hand using a spring-loaded shut-off nozzle, or using containers or drip irrigation. Use of sprinklers or soaker hoses is prohibited.

Commercial flowers and vegetable gardens

No restrictions

Private pools, spas, and garden ponds

Refilling is prohibited.

Public water play parks, and pools

Unless otherwise authorized by municipality, only water play parks with user-activated switches will be operated.

Public and commercial fountains and water features

All shut down.

Private and commercial outdoor impermeable surface washing (such as, driveways, sidewalks, and parkades)

Only for health and safety purposes or to prepare a surface for painting or similar treatment. Washing for aesthetic purposes is prohibited.

Private and commercial pressure washing

Only for health and safety purposes or to prepare a surface for painting or similar treatment. Washing for aesthetic purposes is prohibited. Private pressure washing prohibited.

Outdoor car washing and boat washing

No outdoor washing or rinsing of vehicles and pleasure crafts, except for safety (windows, lights, and licenses only).

Commercial car washes

No restrictions

Golf courses

Water greens and tee areas minimally; fairways may not be watered.

Commercial turf farms

No restrictions

Artificial turf and outdoor tracks (such as, bicycle and motorcycle tracks, running tracks)

Hosing for health and safety only.

School yards, sports, and sand-based playing fields

Minimum levels required to maintain areas in useable condition.

Cemetery lawns

All forms of watering using treated drinking water are prohibited.

Municipal parks

All forms of watering using treated drinking water are prohibited.

Municipal ornamental lawns and grassed boulevards

All forms of watering using treated drinking water are prohibited.

Municipal hydrant flushing

Only for unscheduled safety or public health reasons. Routine flushing to be scheduled after restrictions are lifted.

 

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