Looking back at how we used water in summer 2015Looking back at how we used water in summer 2015<div class="ExternalClass1BBEA3AE64A2447B977178A7A495636B"><p>Metro Vancouver's water supply and demand cycle has been fairly consistent year by year. Rain falls in the surrounding mountains, snow accumulates at higher elevations, and Metro Vancouver captures this water in three mountain reservoirs. Come June, school lets out, we plant some seedlings and cross our fingers for some sunshine. </p><p>But in 2015 we had very unusual weather in winter (low snow pack), spring (low rain) and summer (drought and high temperatures). A more typical cool wet spring includes a few heavy rains in May and June. But they didn't come either. And instead of crossing our fingers for some sunny weather by late June, we were hit with record temperatures, early drought conditions, and wildfire smoke. </p> <p>As a response we all used a lot of water, at a time when the environment wasn't replenishing our reservoirs as it normally would. Using our regularly reported water consumption and reservoir levels data, and Environment Canada's weather records, an interesting chart of our summer water use is generated. Take a look - it tells the story of summer 2015…</p><p> <img alt="Water Consumption Info Graph" src="/services/water/water-conservation/lawn-sprinkling/PublishingImages/DailyWaterConsumption2015InfoGraph.jpg" /> </p><p>There are many interesting stories coming from this chart and over the next few months as Metro Vancouver analyses data there will be more. But for now there are three things to draw attention to. </p><p>First, collectively, everyone did a good job of reducing how much water we used overall. You can see the average use coming down in late July. We were still using water for essential uses - showering, drinking water, cleaning clothes and following usual routines - but we weren't putting water on our lawns.</p><p>Second, the regulations worked to bring down demand for water. Where Stage 2, with its reduced lawn sprinkling plus additional water use restrictions, did not show a great decrease in demand, Stage 3 did. In Stage 3 lawn sprinkling is prohibited, plus there are additional water use restrictions. It's pretty clear as we see the dark grey average daily use lines in the chart drop, that a lot of our high quality drinking water is being used to keep our lawns green, and that is a practice that we should question as we anticipate more hot and dry summers in the future.</p><p>Third, water use is sensitive to the weather. This might seem very obvious, but if you look at the rain days, reduced demand for water actually begins a few days beforehand. When the weather forecast notes the potential for rain, we use less. When the forecast is for extreme heat, we use more, with the majority of that use on our lawns. </p><p>Historically, our demand for water also fluctuates with the time of year, and in a typical year it does come down in late summer.</p><p>With the rains in early September, and reduced demand for water, Metro Vancouver was able to relax the restrictions first to level 2 on September 9, and when supply and demand stabilized, back to level 1 by September 22 with level 1 restrictions in place until October 15. Given the predictions of a dry fall Metro Vancouver continues to take a precautionary approach to ensuring an adequate supply of water, and will be re-evaluating the Water Shortage Response Plan based on stakeholder input starting in the fall.</p></div>http://www.metrovancouver.org/metroupdate/PublishingImages/issue13-water-use.jpg2015-09-30T07:00:00ZGP0|#d4dd73f1-fbe7-492c-8314-7ee9fb4f0386;L0|#0d4dd73f1-fbe7-492c-8314-7ee9fb4f0386|Issue 13;GTSet|#d14ffe11-45dc-48fb-8684-ff109cf15a74<div class="ExternalClass6403DC08907E43818A26A6E1FDFCDDB9"><p>​In summer 2015 we had very unusual weather in winter (low snow pack), spring (low rain) and summer (drought and high temperatures).  Metro Vancouver has generated an infographic using water consumption and reservoir levels data, and Environment Canada's weather records. Take a look at how we used our water in summer 2015…</p></div>0