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Reservoir Levels and Water Use


​​Metro Vancouver posts weekly storage levels for the Seymour, Capilano, and Coquitlam reservoirs from May to October. Metro Vancouver’s water storage is also critical for supporting fish habitats. Flows of water, called environmental flows, are released into the streams and rivers to maintain a healthy aquatic habitat for fish.

In the summer and early fall, our water use can increase by 50 per cent, largely due to lawn watering and increased outdoor use. This increased regional water demand, combined with changes to snowpack and warmer annual temperatures due to climate change, puts a strain on the existing water supply.


  • ​​​Normal Range Nor​mal r​​ange
  • Reserved Water for Emergencies and Environmental/Fish Reserved water for environmental / fish flows and essential uses: drinking, cooking, and cleaning during extreme drought situations.​

Importance of water conservation

Water is a precious resource and it’s important to make sure we’re using treated drinking water for where we need it most: cooking, cleaning, and drinking. The region wide watering restrictions (Stage 1) that come into effect on May 1 every year, are an effective way to help us use our drinking water wisely.

During extended droughts or prolonged warm and dry summers, Stages 2 and 3 water restrictions can be activated to conserve drinking water to ensure the existing supply will last until the return of seasonal rainfall or until the water shortage situation is over. These restrictions are designed to conserve enough drinking water to avoid or delay moving to Stage 4 as long as possible.

Stage 4 water restrictions are activated based on the rare occurrence of a significant emergency such as an earthquake, flood, wild fire, or during severe drought conditions. During Stage 4, both indoor and outdoor water uses will be limited as much as possible until the emergency situation is over, or the drought condition is improved.

Currently water from the Capilano and Seymour reservoirs is released for these different uses following the Joint Water Use Plan:

  • Drinking water
  • Environmental/fish flow
  • Generation of hydropower (limited amounts are used for this purpose)

See full details of the annual water restrictions for your home or business.

Regional water use versus precipitation

Rainfall refills the reservoirs during the winter and spring, but dry periods and higher water use in the summer lower the reservoirs' water levels – and our drinking water supply.​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Note: Precipitation and water use values reflect averaged 2003 to 2019 data. Precipitation values are collected from the Capilano Reservoir, and are significantly higher than urban sites in the region.​​

Celebrating 100 years of delivering high-quality drinking water

 Related links



Regional Water Restrictions, Regional Water RestrictionsRegional Water Restrictions
Watersheds & Reservoirs, Watersheds & ReservoirsWatersheds & Reservoirs
Waterwise Tips, We Love WaterWaterwise Tips

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