Where does my drinking water come from?
Our water comes from rainfall and snowmelt in the mountainous Capilano, Seymour, and Coquitlam water supply areas north of the cities. The three water supply areas together cover an area 150 times the size of Stanley Park and are closed to public access, protecting the Metro Vancouver water system and our water supply from human disturbance.
Rain and melting snow flow downhill through creeks and streams into the Capilano, Seymour, and Coquitlam Reservoirs.
While rainfall replenishes the reservoirs during the winter and spring, dry periods and higher demand for water in the summer lower the reservoirs' water levels – and our drinking water supply.
How does water get to our homes?
Metro Vancouver and Greater Vancouver Water District member jurisdictions work together to supply clean, safe drinking water to the region. Metro Vancouver is responsible for protecting and providing the region’s water supply, including: protecting our watersheds, storing, treating and ensuring the quality of our water, supplying water directly to local governments, and planning for future supply and demand.
Local governments are responsible for providing water to residents and businesses, enforcing regulations, utility billing, and water metering where used.
Our drinking water is treated right as it leaves the reservoirs, in two state-of-the-art water treatment plants. The Seymour-Capilano Filtration Plant can treat up to 1.8 billion litres of water per day and the Coquitlam Water Treatment Plant treats around 380 million litres of drinking water each day.
Metro Vancouver conducts daily tests on our drinking water—analyzing around 35,000 water samples each year. Water is tested at the reservoirs, through the water mains, and again in each municipality to ensure it's clean and safe all the way to your tap.
Metro Vancouver delivers about one billion litres of drinking water each day to local governments (rising to over 1.5 billion in summer due to lawn watering and increased outdoor use). Over 500 km of water mains connect a network of dams, pump stations, storage reservoirs and disinfection stations, plus hundreds of kilometers of local government distribution systems used to deliver drinking water to the taps of businesses and residents.
Operating our water system requires constant upgrades, maintenance and expansion. By using less drinking water for daily activities, we can reduce demand and minimize the high costs required for new infrastructure.