Water Conservation Stages and water restrictions

In 2018, Whistler moved to a new system for managing water conservation. The water conservation stage is evaluated each week. Recommendations to change the stage depend on water supply, reservoir levels, fire danger rating and the weather forecast.

This change to Whistler’s Outdoor Portable Water Use Bylaw allows for more flexible irrigation timelines while also keeping the reservoirs full in case of fire. Fire risk continues to be major concern in the community and being prepared at all times is a municipal priority.

The new system is more flexible, but likewise requires irrigation companies and property managers and the community to be flexible and adapt on a weekly basis. 

Weekly Risk to Supply Analysis Table – Stage 1

Factor Possible Status Status
21 Mile Creek Supply Offline or online * This information is not updated during the fall/winter months. It will be reported again in the spring.
Reservoir Levels Above or below fire storage levels * This information is not updated during the fall/winter months. It will be reported again the spring.
Fire Danger Rating Low, Moderate, High or Extreme *see RMOW Fire Danger Rating webpage; Fire Danger Rating | Resort Municipality of Whistler

Weather Forecast

Rainfall level/Temperatures

* See Environment Canada weather forecast for Whistler; Whistler, BC – 7 Day Forecast – Environment Canada (weather.gc.ca)

BC Drought Level Rating for the area Level 1 thru 5

*see BC Drought Info webpage and map, Whistler sits in the Eastern Pacific Range Basin; https://governmentofbc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=838d533d8062411c820eef50b08f7ebc  

*This information is not updated during the fall/winter months. It will be reported again in the spring.

The graphic below provides a summary of the key water usage regulations. It does not contain all information regarding the bylaw. When referencing this bylaw and determining which regulations affect you, refer to Bylaw NO. 2179, 2018 and not the graphic.

Why Does Water Conservation Matter?

Potable water use increases in the summer months by more than 50 percent. The community water use target of 425 litres per person per day identified in the RMOW Comprehensive Water Conservation and Supply Plan means that all residents and businesses in Whistler have a shared responsibility to save water for when we need it most.

Reducing water consumption decreases the amount of water that requires treatment, which reduces energy use and infrastructure costs. Water use guidelines ensure a reliable supply of potable water to meet Whistler’s daily domestic and commercial needs, protect natural aquatic habitats, and makes sure the community has adequate water for fire protection emergencies.

Water use conservation regulations apply only to the use of potable drinking water. Using rain water, gray water, or any form of recycled water is not restricted. Staff monitor Whistler’s water supply and activate water use restrictions by evaluating the water supply (such as reservoir levels) and forecasts. Residents and visitors are encouraged to conserve water as much as possible to ensure that Whistler is adequately prepared in the event of fire emergencies.

Find out how the RMOW saves water.

Changes to Whistler’s Water Use Regulations

The RMOW recently made changes to the outdoor potable water usage Bylaw (adopted April 24, 2018), which may have an impact on the way you manage your landscaping irrigation. After many months of consultation with stakeholders and the broader community, the updated bylaw now requires a stronger collective effort to monitor water use and reduce consumption when water supply levels are compromised.

The updated Bylaw is focused on outdoor water uses, including: irrigation, washing of vehicles, boats and hard surfaces, and filling of pools and hot tubs.  It also details the Water Conservation Stages that may be enacted if potable water supplies are observed to be lower than required for essential services.

The RMOW also must follow the Water Conservation Stages for areas were municipal drinking water is used. Some parks, fields and the three golf courses have their own non-drinking water supply.

Water Conservation Stages do not apply to Emerald Estates, which is not on the 21 Mile Creek supply system. 


What happens if I need to irrigate outside of permitted times because of a new landscape installation?

If you have a new landscaping installation first please consider the time in which it is installed.  You can apply for a permit to water your new landscaping at additional times if you demonstrate you are using efficient watering methods. The permit is valid for 90 days after the date of issuance.

  • Download and complete the Outdoor Potable Water Use Permit Application.
  • Submit the application to the Municipal Hall with the $30 permit fee.
  • After review and approval, receive the Outdoor Potable Water Use Permit. The permit will be valid for 90 days after issued and must be conspicuously displayed at the location for which it was issued.

Are RMOW properties regulated by the updated water use bylaw?

The RMOW parks operations will comply with the updated bylaw requirements, with a few exemptions required because of the risks associated with their replacement costs. These locations are:

  • Olympic Plaza great lawn
  • Myrtle Phillips School Sports Field
  • Whistler High School Sports Field
  • Spring Creek School Sports Field
  • Rainbow Park and Spruce Grove Park have their own (non-potable) irrigation wells that are subject to different guidelines for use.

We appear to have lots of water, why am I being asked to conserve water?

While we are fortunate to have multiple fresh water sources, developing additional water sources to deliver potable water is heavily regulated. Whistler’s Community Vision and Official Community Plan requires the RMOW to balance water conservation efforts with increasing supply. Reducing water consumption decreases the amount of water that requires treatment and storage, which reduces energy use and infrastructure costs.


Infrastructure Services

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