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Vancouverites love a luscious green lawn. It’s a hallmark of a city with a voracious thirst for water. It’s also why it could be difficult for us to meet some of the goals contained in the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, which include a reduction in consumption by one-third from 2006 levels by 2020. In 2014, per capita daily water use was 483 litres, a figure that’s twice that of the average European city and a third more than they use in neighbouring Portland and Seattle.
As far back as 1922, Ernest Cleveland, the architect of the Greater Vancouver Water District and its first chief commissioner following incorporation in 1926, called out Vancouver for its wasteful water ways. In a report, he estimated per capita water use in Vancouver at a whopping 175 to 200 gallons (796 to 909 litres) per day. For comparison, that’s more than three times what the citizens of Winnipeg were using.