Water conservation

residents urged to save water

WORCESTER – The city is asking residents to be more mindful of their water use as the ongoing drought in the county takes its toll on the city’s water supplies.

Phil Guerin, the city’s director of water and sewer operations, said levels in the city’s 10 reservoirs dropped 78.4% on Sunday.

“We want people to start thinking about water conservation all the time,” Guerin said. “You can sweep your driveway and sidewalk if you want to pick up the leaves instead of watering them down.”

After:Drought parches 90% of the state; DPW says Worcester’s water supply is safe

After:Dried up ? Cities impose restrictions on water use to cope with worsening drought

After:Main water leak overflows onto W. Mountain Street in Worcester – with no fix in sight

Guerin said the Department of Public Works is using 26 million gallons a day from the reservoirs to pump into the city, while “very little is going in due to the lack of rain.”

Guerin said the city is expected to enter stage 1 drought status by the end of the month. This step is “informative,” meaning the DPW would not enforce any restrictions on residential water use, but would strongly suggest changes.

“We would like to get people to stop wasting water,” Guerin said. “We sue people if they have leaks or if their lawn sprinklers run in the middle of the day or if they water their sidewalk instead of the grass.

“If you were really wasting water, we were knocking on the door.”

Last month, the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs said 90 percent of Massachusetts, including central Massachusetts, was experiencing significant drought.

But Guerin said water levels this year are not expected to drop as much as they did in 2016, when reservoirs were only 50% full.

That year, Worcester purchased $3 million worth of water from the Quabbin Reservoir.

“We’re pretty far from that,” Guerin said.

Guerin said he doesn’t expect the city to enter Stage 2, when outdoor watering would be limited to every other day.