Most British Columbians Are Taking Steps to Conserve Water

But two-in-five report seeing someone in their neighbourhood watering the lawn after the restrictions came into place.

Vancouver, BC – Many British Columbians claim to be acting to conserve water during a period of extreme heat and lack of rain in the province, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 88% of British Columbians with a lawn say they stopped watering it over the past two months, and 86% of those who own a car say they have not washed it.

In addition, 63% of residents claim to be taking shorter showers, 53% are relying on their dishwasher less than usual, and 48% are operating their washing machine less than usual.

Three-in-ten British Columbians (29%) have stopped exercising outside due to air quality, a proportion that jumps to 47% in the Fraser Valley.

Practically all residents (95%) are supportive of the various levels of water use restrictions that have been enacted in the province. Still, 41% of British Columbians say they have witnessed someone in their neighbourhood watering the lawn, while one-in-four (25%) have seen a person discarding cigarette butts from a car, and one-in-five (20%) have observed someone washing the car—including 34% in the Fraser Valley.


A fine of $250 for ignoring water restrictions—which is in place in the City of Vancouver—is considered appropriate by a majority of British Columbians (53%) and more than a third (36%) believe it is actually “too low.”

“While British Columbians appear to be taking steps to reduce their water consumption, they are also reporting that some of their peers have not been particularly careful,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West. “In fact, there is a strong appetite across the province to implement larger fines for people who decide to ignore the water restrictions.”

Across the province, 35% of residents rate the job the Government of British Columbia is doing in managing our water supply as “very good” or “good.” In contrast, 69% of British Columbians are happy with the way their own municipality handles the water supply, and 53% of Lower Mainland residents also hold positive views on how Metro Vancouver (formerly known as the Greater Vancouver Regional District) is performing on this particular duty.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has fifteen full-time employees.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from July 23 to July 25, 2015, among 823 adult residents of British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points. Click to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Alan Levine