British Columbia

Water update: Metro Vancouver reservoirs in good shape, despite water restrictions elsewhere

Metro Vancouver holding steady, North and South Thompson regions under Level 3 restrictions

Clare Hennig - CBC News

August 28, 2017

Darrell Mussatto says water levels in reservoirs, like this one in the Seymour watershed, are holding steady but conservation measures are still needed. (Getty Images/Moment RF)

With temperatures consistently hitting the high 20s, Metro Vancouver is getting parched.

The heat is on: lawns are turning brown and the Vancouver Park Board is even sounding the alarm about thirsty trees. Darrell Mussatto, the chair of Metro Vancouver's Utilities Committee and the mayor of the City of North Vancouver, checked in with On The Coast with a water update.

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The three water sources that supply Metro Vancouver—the Capilano Reservoir, Seymour Reservoir and Coquitlam Reservoir—are holding steady for now despite the heat streak, Mussatto told CBC On The Coast guest host Gloria Macarenko.

"Our reservoirs are in pretty good shape," he said. "They are about where they should be."

Reservoir levels

Metro Vancouver publishes a weekly report of the reservoir levels during the summer and, right now, the levels are roughly the same as this time last year and well within the normal range.

Metro Vancouver publishes a weekly report on the reservoir storage levels from May to October, when demand is higher and levels decrease. (Metro Vancouver)

The Capilano Reservoir levels are lower than usual because of drum gate maintenance but Mussatto said he is confident that the other two reservoirs will hold until the fall—as long as water preservation guidelines are followed.

"Even if we do have a dry fall, if we keep to our restrictions and keep monitoring our water use, we should be just fine," he said.

Conservation still needed

Metro Vancouver uses about 1.4 billion litres of water a day during the summer, above the national average. Mussatto emphasized the need to conserve water, despite the steady levels of the reservoirs.

"If one person wastes a bit of water, we think that's fine and it doesn't make a difference. But if 2.5 million people did that, it adds up very quickly," he said.

Metro Vancouver is under a Level 1 water restriction until October 15, meaning residents can only water their lawns on specific days of the week and face restrictions on washing vehicles.  

Level 3 restrictions announced

However, other parts of the province are in more dire circumstances. The B.C. government announced a Level 3 restriction for the North Thompson and South Thompson regions today and is urging water users to reduce consumption by 30 per cent.

Mussatto said even small measures, such as taking a shorter shower or not watering the lawn as often, can make a difference in water conservation.

To listen to the full interview with Darrell Mussatto, click on the audio link below:

With files from On The Coast

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