Water Woes: Restrictions Hit Eastern U.S.
August 9, 2016
Concord, Mass., is in the midst of an outdoor water-use restriction that could last until the end of September, and more severe limits could be on the way.
Concord's current restriction limits outdoor water use to a maximum of twice a week, with fines of $50 for a first offense and $100 for each subsequent infraction, says Alan Cathcart, superintendent of Concord's Water and Sewer Division. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection will more than likely issue a Water Management Act permit in 2018 for the Concord River Watershed Basin, which includes Concord, that will limit outdoor irrigation systems to a more-restrictive schedule of once a week.
One major reason for the current restriction in Concord is the rising number of homeowners who have in-ground irrigation systems, which Cathcart said are placing a heavy burden on Concord's water supply. According to Cathcart, there are 775 registered in-ground irrigation systems connected to Concord’s municipal water supply, out of 5,550 customers.
The tougher state permits, Cathcart says, are an indication that Massachusetts officials are beginning to seriously consider what constitutes an essential water need and its impact on water resources. According to Cathcart, the state considers irrigation systems “non-essential”.
Concord is one of the few communities in Massachusetts that requires developers of large commercial and residential properties to submit a water-use impact report before the property is connected to the municipal water system. The requirement has been in place since 2003, and if demand is anticipated to exceed 30 gallons per minute or more than 1,000 gallons daily, the developer must submit the report and Concord's water department will work with the developer to lessen the demand for water.
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This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell, editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more about irrigation-system management at https://www.facilitiesnet.com/14530FMD.
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