Metro Vancouver cuts water restrictions to Stage 1

September rains wash away any lingering drought fears as reservoirs return to normal

September’s rains have washed away any remaining fear that Metro Vancouver’s drinking water reservoirs might run dangerously low this year.

The regional district dropped its water restrictions again Tuesday, from Stage 2 to Stage 1, the level that normally applies all summer from June through September, but this fall it will stay in effect until Oct. 15.

That ends all unusual restrictions to combat the summer’s intense drought and means thrice weekly lawn sprinkling in mornings is again permitted. Also allowed again is hosing of outdoor surfaces for any reason.

Recent rain boosted the supply available in Metro reservoirs back up to about 60 per cent of capacity, well into the comfort zone and normal for this time of year.

The region, except for groundwater-supplied White Rock, had been under stringent Stage 3 restrictions from July 20 to Sept. 9, when they were eased to Stage 2.

Metro had only gone to Stage 3 once before, in 2003.

“This year has proven to be a real wake-up call and may be the new norm going forward,” Metro utilities committee chair Darrell Mussatto said.

He says the region will review the effectiveness of its water restrictions and could consider reforms, such as an earlier start in future years as a precaution against another very dry summer.

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