Drought continues; Concord urges end to outdoor watering, Deerfield bans it

  • Penacook Lake, the source of Concord's drinking water, is at a much lower level than usual in late September, 2016. Concord General Services—

Monitor staff
Published: 9/27/2016 9:24:35 AM

The recent rain has done little to end the region’s drought, leading Deerfield to ban lawn watering and Concord to double down on a request that residents “suspend all non-essential outdoor water use, such as lawn irrigation.”

Despite recent rain, Concord remains 8.6 inches below average total rainfall for this time of year, which is equivalent to almost two months’ normal rainfall.

“Our biggest concern is not receiving sufficient snowfall this winter to restore the Penacook Lake watershed. If precipitation levels remain this way through winter, we will need to consider implementing a water ban next year,” said Chip Chesley, director of Concord General Services, in a press release.

Concord on Tuesday said it “is requesting all customers to suspend all non-essential outdoor water use, such as lawn irrigation, with the exception of hand watering vegetable gardens and newly planted vegetation.”

On Tuesday, Deerfield announced that the select board has tightened rules by adopting a “lawn watering restriction ordinance.”

The town “is requiring all residents, including those on private wells, to stop watering lawns.”

More than two dozen municipalities or water systems in the state have placed similar water restrictions. Most are in the hard-hit southeastern third of New Hampshire, but problems have been reported as far north as Carroll County and as far west as Keene.

The New Hampshire Drought Management Team and New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services are urging the public to conserve water and is advising against lawn watering.

Outdoor water use is a significant component of total water use, and eliminating it is an effective means of conserving water.

There are also things residents can do to minimize water use indoors – such as replacing old showerheads, toilets, sink aerators, and washing machines with EPA WaterSense and Energy Star certified products. Upgrading to these products can save hundreds of gallons of water for families, while saving energy and even money off utility bills.

There are some small tasks that can make a big difference over time, like turning off faucets while washing dishes and hands, only washing full loads of laundry, taking shorter showers, and fixing any household leaks.

Conservation recommendations are available at concordnh.gov/conservation.

Updated information on the drought can be found at des.nh.gov.

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