On Monday, July 25th Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Beth Card updated the drought declarations for Massachusetts, and declared a Level 3 – Critical Drought in the Northeast (including Winchester) and Central regions of the state. Level 4 – Emergency Drought is the highest alert level. With most of the state experiencing drought conditions, and little rainfall in the immediate forecast, water conservation measures are critical to reducing stress on our local water supply systems and natural habitats.
The Town of Winchester is supplied drinking water from our three reservoirs, through the associated Water Treatment Plant, and from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). On average, 44% of our drinking water is locally sourced and 56% comes from the MWRA. Winchester has the ability to move entirely to MWRA supply if necessary. However, the cost of purchasing water from the MWRA is significantly more expensive than producing water from our own reservoirs. The Town is in the process of completing necessary repairs to the North Reservoir Dam this summer, which has required the reservoir to be drained well below normal operating range; in effect, removing the reservoir from the Town’s overall water supply system. The loss of the North Reservoir supply, coupled with the on-going drought conditions could have detrimental impacts to the Town’s drinking water supply in the near-term.
Based on these concerns, the Winchester Select Board voted on Monday, August 1st to implement the following voluntary water use restrictions effective immediately:
- Outdoor watering recommended only on Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday before 9am and after 7pm.
The Town encourages residents to implement water conservation measures beyond the recommended reduction in outdoor watering. Additional information can be found at links below:
A copy of the Water Use Restriction Regulations adopted by the Board in August 2002 is available here: https://www.winchester.us/DocumentCenter/View/8496/WaterUseRestrictionsRegulations_8272002
Any questions should be directed to the Water and Sewer Department at 781-721-7109.