Lawn Watering Regulations


Our water use can increase by 50% in summer and early fall, largely due to lawn watering. Metro Vancouver sets region‑wide watering regulations, which is a proven way to help us use our drinking water wisely.

Stage 1 regulations are in effect throughout Metro Vancouver from May 1 to October 15, to prevent drinking water wastage and ensure water users employ efficient and effective watering practices.

Residential Watering – Stage 1

During Stage 1, residents can water as follows.

Lawn Watering

  • Permitted once weekly, with automatic watering 5am-7am and manual watering 6am-9am (exceptions for permits, see below)
  • even-numbered addresses may water lawns on Saturdays         
  • odd-numbered addresses may water lawns on Sundays

Trees, Shrubs & Flowers

  • water with sprinklers any day, 5am-9am
  • water any day at any time if using handheld hose, soaker hose, water container, or drip irrigation

Vegetable Gardens & Edible Plants

  • water any day at any time

lawn watering Stage 1 summary 2022


Non-Residential Watering – Stage 1

Properties with either commercial or mixed-use zoning are considered non-residential, and can water as follows.

Lawn Watering

  • permitted once weekly, with automatic watering 4am-6am and manual watering 6am-9am (exceptions for permits, see below):
  • even-numbered addresses may water lawns on Mondays
  • odd-numbered addresses may water lawns on Tuesdays

Trees, Shrubs & Flowers

  • water with sprinklers any day 4am-9am
  • water any day at any time if using handheld hose, soaker hose, water container, or drip irrigation

Vegetable Gardens & Edible Plants

  • water any day at any time

Rules for Watering & Enforcement

The following rules apply to all stages of water restrictions:

  • All hoses must have an automatic shut-off device
  • Water must not unnecessarily run off on surfaces such as driveways, curbs, pathways, etc. when watering lawns and plants
  • Hoses and taps must not run unnecessarily
  • Irrigation systems must not be faulty, leaking, or misdirected.

Though the same rules apply across the entire Metro Vancouver area, slightly different rules are in effect for residential, non-residential, and government/school/parks properties.

Note that in the restrictions, "automatic" means only minimal human intervention is needed (e.g. sprinkler, timer), and "manual" means manually held or operated by a human.


Enforcement of Watering Restrictions


The City's rules for watering are provided in the Drinking Water Conservation Bylaw.

For bylaw concerns, contact Bylaw Services at 604-982-8302 or email bylaw@cnv.org. Note that all bylaw complaints must include your name, address, etc. - learn more on the Bylaw Complaint Process page.

About Water Conservation in Metro Vancouver

There are four stages of water conservation restrictions:

  • Stage 1 - reduces demand in summer months, and is automatically in effect from May 1 until October 15. 
  • Stages 2 and 3 - likely to be activated during unusually hot and dry conditions to maximize water conservation. No lawn watering is permitted during these stages, and sprinklers/soaker hoses are also prohibited in Stage 3.
  • Stage 4 - activated based on the rare occurrence of a significant emergency, such as an earthquake, flood, severe weather, etc. to immediately limit water use to essential needs only. All watering is prohibited.

In most cases, the stages of the plan will be activated in successive order, but they can also be activated immediately in any order.

The decision to move to increased stages of water restriction is based on measured facts, reasoned predictions, and historical patterns, with a goal of ensuring the sufficient supply of water until the concerns that caused the more restrictive stages are over, typically in the early fall with the return of seasonal rainfall.

Learn more in Metro Vancouver's Drinking Water Conservation Plan document.

Lawn Watering Permits

The City will issue Lawn Watering Permits for the application of nematodes to treat European Chafer Beetle infestations and for new lawns.

To apply for a permit please complete a Lawn Sprinkling Permit Application form and bring it along with the required information as outlined below to the Engineering, Parks & Environment counter at City Hall.

Please note:

  • Lawn watering permits will only be issued when Stage 1 restrictions are in place (i.e. no permits will be issued in Stage 2 and beyond)
  • Issued permits will continue to be valid during Stage 2 up to the stated permit length (i.e. 21 days)
  • During Stage 3 and 4 restrictions, all permits will be revoked



Nematode Application for European Chafer Beetles

When treating your lawn with nematodes as a biological control for European Chafer beetles, the City will grant a 21-day permit to water your lawn outside of the summer lawn watering restrictions.

Under the permit, lawn watering is only permitted between the hours of 4am-9am, any day of the week, and the two week period must end prior to August 15th. There are no fees for these permits, but you'll need to provide proof of address and a purchase receipt for nematodes.




New Lawns

The City will grant a 21-day permit allowing you to water your new lawn(s) outside of the summer lawn watering restrictions. One 21-day extension may be granted for watering of new lawns before or after the expiration of the existing permit. 

Lawn watering is only permitted between the hours of 4am-9am. This permit does not authorize unlimited watering. Place an empty tuna can (2.5 cm) next to the sprinkler - a full tuna can is all you should need for the week!

To purchase a new lawn watering permit you'll need to pay the applicable fee as noted below (plus applicable taxes), as well as provide proof of address and a purchase receipt for lawn seed or sod.

Lawn Watering Permit Fee
Single Family/Duplex $30.00
Multi-Family $75.00
Commercial/Industrial $150.00
New Lawn with Clover No Fee



Contact Info

Tel: 604-983-7333
Email: eng@cnv.org

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