Whately commissioners issue mandatory water restriction

Staff Writer
Published: 8/5/2022 3:46:02 PM
Modified: 8/5/2022 3:42:55 PM

WHATELY — In the wake of continuing drought conditions, the town’s water commissioners have issued a mandatory water restriction for all water customers through at least Sept. 6.

During this period, the commissioners have implemented an odd/even watering system, in which homes with odd-number addresses are allowed to water their lawns on odd-number days, while residents with even-number addresses can water their lawns on even-number days.

Water Superintendent Wayne Hutkoski said the towns are managing the drought conditions effectively and the water restriction is a precaution. Hutkoski said the Water Department has about 400 connections in town, which serve 365 residential houses.

“We are seeing a drop in the well level,” Hutkoski said. “It’s easier to get ahead of it than wait until it’s too late.”

Additionally, residents are encouraged to only water their lawns between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. because that period of time is when the ground has the best chance to absorb water. Watering a lawn during the day can waste water because some of it evaporates while baking in the hot sun, according to the commissioners’ announcement on the town website.

Hutkoski said water levels are trending downward by approximately 6 inches each day, which is not something to worry about, but the town is monitoring the situation.

“We’re not really in danger of running out of water,” he clarified.

If residents do not adhere to the water restriction, Hutkoski said the town may have to implement a complete ban on outdoor water use. The next step would be “no more outdoor watering.”

“We realize people have put a lot of money and effort into their lawns and we don’t want to completely shut it down,” Hutkoski said, urging residents to “do your part.”

Massachusetts officially declared a drought on July 21 and designated the Pioneer Valley to be suffering from a “severe drought.”

“As the summer continues and low precipitation couples with high temperatures, it is incredibly important that outdoor watering be limited, coupled with the planting of drought-tolerant plants to further reduce the strain on local water systems,” the state’s drought webpage reads. “Drought-like conditions can also be detrimental to delicate habitats and ecosystems, and can directly impact outdoor recreational opportunities.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.


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