Single pass cooling systems must be disconnected from the City's water system by January 1, 2020 and the water & sewer rates are going up in Vancouver. 

On December 11th 2018, the City of Vancouver reviewed the water and sewer rates for the next five years. Water rates are increasing almost 10% per year to 2023, while sewer rates are increasing at 10-11% per year in the same time frame. 

  • To view the City of Vancouver 2019 Annual Review of Water Rates and Water Works By-law Amendments, click here.
  • To view the City of Vancouver 2019 Annual Review of Sewer Rates and Environmental Updates under the Sewer and Watercourse By-law, click here

The Water Works By-Law (WWBL) has been amended to prohibit connection of once through cooling equipment. Additionally, existing once through cooling equipment, non-recirculating liquid ring pumps and other single pass systems must be disconnected from the City’s water system by January 1, 2020 (WWBL Section 3.10, which also defines exceptions).

Link to full list of new water efficiency requirements:

Once through cooling systems use drinking water in a single pass as a cooling medium. The water used for this process is then drained to the sewer. As a result of this wasteful use of drinking water, many jurisdictions in North America have banned their use. Alternative systems, such as air-cooled systems, are readily available.

Now is the time to do a scan of your building’s cooling systems and identify whether or not you have any once through cooling systems which can account for a significant portion of your water use. Some facilities find that they can reduce their water use by over 20% by replacing once through cooling systems. With water rates going up there is a strong business case for making the changes sooner than later. Find out more here

Systems that may have once through cooling include:

  • Walk-in coolers
  • Walk-in freezers
  • Refrigerated case
  • Ice makers

Options for replacing an OTC system include:

  • Air-cooled equipment - install stand-alone air-cooled ice machines and condensing units
  • Closed-loop piping - re-circulate cooling water to a remote air-cooled chiller or cooling tower, or connect to an existing closed-loop system serving another area of the building     
  • Split-system - use heat pumps with remote air-cooled condensers

Interested in learning more? Check out this restaurant OTC fact sheet prepared by the CRD and this billing data summary for a restaurant that eliminated OTC.

If you have questions or would like to know more about how you might get started on water conservation contact Tourism Vancouver’s Gwendal Castellan, Manager of Sustainable Destination Development -