Spring weather may seem to have arrived later than usual but lawn watering restrictions are coming earlier than they used to, and they'll be more restrictive.
The new rules for the Tri-Cities and the rest of Metro Vancouver will take effect Tuesday (May 1), two weeks earlier than in the past. The regional district moved up its Stage 1 restrictions from May 15 and they will run until Oct. 15.
Allowable lawn watering is also being reduced from three mornings a week to two. Even-numbered residential addresses can do it from 4 to 9 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays with odd-numbered addresses allowed to sprinkle during those hours on Thursdays and Sundays.
Previously, watering flowers, planters, shrubs and trees was not restricted in stages 1 and 2. But now, that can only be done between 4 and 9 a.m. if a sprinkler is being used; you can still hand-water or use drip irrigation at any time (hoses must have an automatic shut-off device).
Non-residential properties have been restricted to watering from two days a week (Monday 1 to 6 a.m. and Fridays 4 to 9 a.m. for even-numbered addresses, and Tuesday and Friday for odd-numbered). Restrictions have also been placed on playing fields and golf courses that previously weren't limited.
If Stage 3 is reached, commercial vehicle washing will be prohibited except for facilities with a basic wash and rinse cycle only, or with an automatic wash system with water recycling installed after Nov. 1, 2017. Also exempt will be hand wash/self-serve facilities with high-pressure wands or brushes.
Topping up for filling pools and hot tubs won't be allowed either if Stage 3 is declared.
According to Metro Vancouver, an hour of rain or watering per week is all that's needed for a healthy lawn. For more information, go to the district's website, metrovancouver.org, which has a lawn care guide.