Snow shortage unlikely to dry up Metro Vancouver water reservoirs

Water conservation beating regional district's targets, expected to help ensure supply in low-runoff summer

Metro Vancouver’s water reservoirs are nearly full and the regional district expects no water supply problems despite extremely low snowpacks.

The lowest level is at Seymour Lake, which is 87 per cent full, but it and other reservoirs are expected to be topped up with rains in early May, according to a Metro staff report.

Snowpacks levels near upper reservoirs are at less than 10 per cent of the long-term average so runoff to refill reservoirs this summer will be much less than normal, the report said.

But conservation is working in the regional district’s favour.

Tighter morning-only lawn sprinkling regulations imposed over the past four years has pushed average daily water use in the region down by about 10 per cent since 2010 – better than a regional target of five per cent or one per cent each year.

A similar drop in water use has been measured on the “peak day” of each year, typically the hottest, driest day of the summer.

Overall, Metro residents are using 27 per cent less water per capita than they were in 1993, the report said.

Water stored in the reservoirs and alpine lakes that Metro can tap should be adequate, the report said, noting water use limits can be tightened further in the event of extreme drought or unusually high demand.

Regular lawn sprinkling restrictions take effect June 1.

Residential sprinkling is allowed from 4 to 9 a.m. only on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday for even-numbered addresses and Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday for odd-numbered addresses.

Metro Vancouver chart showing decline of per capita water use in the region over time.

 

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