September 13 2016

Full Watering Ban "Imminent" If Drought Continues

By: Rich Hosford

 Burlington residents and businesses could soon be prohibited from watering their lawns entirely. 


As reported on BNEWS, due to the current drought conditions the Board of Selectmen voted to restrict watering to once per week, based on precinct, to conserve water. The restriction applies to watering by automatic irrigation systems and does not include hand watering. At first new lawns were exempt but last month that exemption was removed for new lawns moving forward. 


On Monday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Department of Public Works Director John Sanchez said the drought conditions have worsened and that the Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs is now recommending communities adopt full watering bans. 


Sanchez said he is not recommending that at this time, but that could change in the near future. 


“I’m not recommending a full ban at this point but that is probably imminent,” he said. 


Sanchez also said the small amounts of rain the area has seen recently, including the sudden downpour on Sunday, have not had an effect on the dry conditions. He said the reservoir is currently down to about a month and a half of water at current usage rates. 


“It’s the lowest I’ve seen it since I started here 10 years ago,” he said. “If we continue to get no rain I’ll probably be back here within a few weeks recommending a full water ban and possibly tying to a neighboring community. we’re not going to wait until we’re completely out of water before doing that. The conditions are really bad right now.” 


He did say the watering restriction has helped maintain water levels in the reservoir. He said the town has had to issue about 500 warnings but only 25 tickets. 


“Most residents have complied,” he said. 

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