Explaining Langley Water Restrictions – Starting May 1

Langley – In the Township of Langley, we turn on the tap and have safe, clean drinking water at our disposal.

Like all other municipalities on Canada’s “Wet Coast,” we get a ton of rain throughout the year and are surrounded by snow-capped mountains and rushing rivers.

So why is it that restrictions are put in place throughout Metro Vancouver every spring and summer to curb the amount of water that goes into our lawns?

“Despite the abundance of water around us, it is not for drinking,” said Meaghan Norton Daniel, Environmental Coordinator with the Township of Langley. “The water that goes through our sprinklers and into our lawns is, however. We don’t want to waste what we drink.”

Norton Daniel chairs Metro Vancouver’s Water Conservation Committee and has been working closely with Metro’s 22 member municipalities to develop a Drinking Water Conservation Plan. The Plan is meant to instill the public with the need to conserve drinking water – not just during times of shortage and even when it’s rainy.

 “There is a common misconception that we have lots of water, but rainwater is not drinking water. It is not that simple,” Norton Daniel said. “The water that falls from the sky and can be seen as snow on the mountains needs to be collected, stored, treated so it is safe to drink, and distributed through hundreds of kilometres of pipes before it becomes the drinking water we get when we turn on the tap.”

During the warm, dry months, Metro Vancouver’s water usage increases by 50 per cent and even more precious drinking water goes straight into the ground due to excessive outdoor watering.

“Your lawn only needs one hour of water per week to stay healthy, and that includes rainwater,” Norton Daniel said. “If it rains, you don’t need to water that week. And if you choose not to water at all, even better. Your grass will go golden and dormant, but will be back to emerald green in the spring.”

There are four stages of watering restrictions that can go into effect throughout Metro Vancouver and are escalated based on the possibility of extended drought or water supply issues. The first stage is automatically implemented each spring.

This year, the restrictions were revised to reflect the fact that lawns tend to be overwatered. Stage 1 has been moved forward two weeks; it will start May 1 and run to October 15. Other changes include reducing the number of permitted watering days to two per week, and stricter watering restrictions for playing fields.

The new regulations also reflect a change in sprinkler use for gardens, which is allowed from 4:00am to 9:00am each day. Watering by hand is allowed any time for trees, shrubs, flowers, and gardens. As well, all hoses must have an automatic shut-off device, water must not run unnecessarily from hoses and taps or onto impermeable surfaces when watering lawns and plants, and irrigation systems must not be faulty, leaking or misdirected.

Metro Vancouver’s member municipalities are also working the new Drinking Water Conservation Plan into their bylaws. The Township adopted its Drinking Water Conservation Bylaw in March.

Full watering restrictions and more information can be found at tol.ca/waterrestrictions.

To report a water restriction violation, call the Township’s Engineering Division at 604.532.7300.

Water Restrictions

The Township of Langley’s Drinking Water Conservation Bylaw 2018 No. 5321 has four stages of watering restrictions:

  • Stage 1 automatically implemented every year
  • Stages 2 and 3 used in times of extended drought or when facing a water supply issue
  • Stage 4 reserved for emergency situations

*All areas of the Township are subject to the next stages of restrictions if deemed necessary by Metro Vancouver or the General Manager of Engineering.

Stage 1 Residential Watering Restrictions

Effective May 1 – October 15

·         Lawn watering allowed: 4:00am – 9:00am

o   Even addresses:  Wednesday and Saturday

o   Odd addresses:  Thursday and Sunday

·         Garden, shrub, tree, and flowerbed watering via sprinkler allowed any day between 4:00am – 9:00am. If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, remember to adjust the timer.

·         Garden, shrub, tree, and flowerbed watering via handheld hose, soaker hose, water container, or drip irrigation allowed any day, any time

Stage 1 Non-Residential Watering Restrictions

Effective May 1 – October 15

·         Lawn watering allowed: 1:00am – 6:00am

o   Even addresses:  Monday

o   Odd addresses:  Tuesday

o   All non-residential addresses: Friday, 4:00am – 9:00am

·         Garden, shrub, tree, and flowerbed watering via sprinkler allowed any day between 1:00am – 9:00am

·         Garden, shrub, tree, and flowerbed watering via handheld hose, soaker hose, water container, or drip irrigation allowed any day, any time


Being Water Wise

Your lawn only needs one hour of watering per week – including rain! What else can you do?

  • Add an auto-shut off attachment to your hose.
  • Sweep patios, decks, and driveways with a broom instead of the hose.
  • Pull planters into the shade to avoid the hot sun.
  • Water vegetable gardens in the morning, near the roots, and by hand.
  • Leave grass clippings on your lawn. Clippings help trap moisture to reduce evaporation, and break down to feed your lawn naturally.
  • Visit tol.ca/waterwise for more ways to conserve water.


New Lawn Watering Exemption Request

Water restriction exemption permits are available upon request at the Civic Facility or Operations Centre to residential and commercial properties under Stage 1 and 2 water restrictions. A permit is valid for 21 days from the start date and allows lawn sprinkling outside of restricted days.


Sports Playing Fields and School Fields

Watering restrictions apply to sports playing fields and school fields during Stages 1, 2, and 3 of the restrictions and Drinking Water Conservation Bylaw.

Some fields have a sand base for year-round use, allowing for higher water infiltration and faster drainage to accommodate wet winter months. Due to this sand base, these playing fields do need water during the summer to prevent them from drying out and potentially dying off. The use of sand base fields is consistent with other local municipalities.

Township of Langley staff only use water to the extent required for facility maintenance. The majority of parks and playing fields use an automated watering system connected to a computerized central irrigation system. The system uses local water data to calculate the rate in which moisture evaporates and is used by plants, then applies a measured amount of water to maintain specific soil moisture.

Generally, parks and playing fields receive infrequent watering, but for longer periods of time, to force the turf to grow longer roots. Longer roots make turf more durable and resilient.

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