Mandatory Water Use Restriction Effective - May 26, 2021

MANDATORY WATER USE RESTRICTION 

Issued 5/26/2021

 

In accordance with Southwick’s Water Withdrawal Permit through MassDEP, and pursuant to its authority, the Board of Water Commissioners has declared a State of Water Supply Conservation thereby imposing a mandatory Water Use Restriction on non-essential outdoor water use. By definition, “non-essential” means uses not required for health or safety reasons, by regulation, for production of food or fiber, for maintenance of livestock, or to meet the core function of a business.

 

Who must comply with the water restriction?

These restrictions apply to all customers of the Southwick Water Department.  Any residents  who are not on the Town’s water system or use outdoor water from alternate resources, such as a private well or lakes, are not subject to these restrictions. However, all Town residents are strongly urged to conserve water by any means possible.

 

When is non-essential outdoor water use permitted?

Residents are permitted to use non-essential outdoor water one day per week, and only before 9:00 AM and after 5:00 PM. Which day of week depends on the geographic location and the property number. See the attached figure showing the Town’s water system broken up into two regions (North and South). The dividing line between regions is Granville Road, Depot Street, and South Longyard Road, all of which run in a general east-west direction. Residents that live on Granville Road, Depot Street, and South Longyard Road shall be considered within the North Region.

 

The daily schedule of permitted non-essential outdoor water use is as follows:

  • Monday – North Region, odd number properties
  • Tuesday – North Region, even number properties
  • Wednesday – South Region, odd number properties
  • Thursday – South Region, even number properties

No non-essential outdoor water use is allowed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

 

What are examples of non-essential water use (and thus subject to these restrictions)?
  • Irrigation of lawns via sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems
  • Washing of vehicles, except in a commercial car wash or as necessary for operator safety or to prevent damage and/or maintain performance of agricultural or construction  vehicles or equipment
  • Washing of exterior building surfaces, parking lots, driveways or sidewalks, except as necessary to apply surface treatments such as paint, preservatives, stucco, pavement or cement

 

What are examples of water use that is allowed when these restrictions are in place (and thus not subject to these restrictions)?
  • Irrigation to establish a new lawn and new plantings during the months of May and September only
  • Irrigation of parks and recreational fields by means of automatic sprinklers outside the hours of 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (early morning or late evening)
  • Irrigation of gardens, flowers and ornamental plants by means of a hand-held hose,  soaker hose or drip irrigation system
  • Irrigation of lawns by means of a hand-held hose only
  • Irrigation with harvested and stored stormwater runoff
  • For health and safety reasons
  • By regulation
  • For the production of food and fiber
  • For the maintenance of livestock
  • To meet the core functions of a business (i.e. irrigation by golf courses as necessary to maintain tees, greens, and limited fairway watering; or irrigation by plant nurseries as necessary to maintain stock or establish new plantings, wash equipment to prevent damage and/or maintain performance, pest management and plant cooling)

 

Why is there a water restriction?

Per the Town’s Water Withdrawal Permit through MassDEP, a limit on non-essential outdoor water use shall be implemented when the following conditions are met:

  • During May and June, the mean daily stream flow at the USGS gauge #01183500 (Westfield River) falls below 502 cubic feet per second for three consecutive days
  • During July, August, and September, the mean daily stream flow at the USGS gauge#01183500 (Westfield River) falls below 174 cubic feet per second for three consecutive days

There are no water use restrictions between October and April. The minimum flows identified above were established through MassDEP in an effort to protect fish habitat for spring spawning and summer rearing/growth.

Further, on 5/10/2021, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) declared drought conditions for several regions. The Connecticut River  Valley  Region, which Southwick is part of, was proclaimed to be in a Level 1 - Mild Drought rating.  At Level 1, conditions are becoming dry with an “emphasis placed on conservation through education, communication, and planning. The objective is to take action under the precautionary assumption that conditions may deteriorate further.”

 

When is this restriction in effect?

This restriction is in effect immediately through September 30th, unless stream flow levels in the Westfield River rise above the minimum flow thresholds identified above for seven consecutive days, until EOEEA determines the Connecticut River Valley Region is no longer in drought conditions, or until a time as determined by the Water Commissioners. The Town will issue a separate notification when these Water Use Restrictions are lifted.

 

How can the Town track and/or determine whether I use outdoor water?

The new water metering system allows the Town to track hourly usage of all meters. Those services whose meters record flow rates consistent with outdoor use during this restriction will be flagged and investigated. Town crews will also be on the look-out for violators during their daily rounds.

 

What are the penalties of not complying with this restriction?

Per Town of Southwick Bylaw Chapter 178 Section 5, violators can be fined $50 for the first offense and $100 for every subsequent offense.

 

Why does the restriction limit non-essential water use to one day a week, and not allow for more days? Why do some other communities have no water restrictions, or water restrictions that are not as stringent?

Southwick’s Water Withdrawal Permit was recently renewed through MassDEP, and the one day a week limitation is the standard requirement written into this permit. MassDEP is continuously reviewing and updating Water Withdrawal Permits throughout the State. It is likely that other communities with no or less stringent restrictions have not had their permit renewed recently. In time, all communities with permitted water withdrawals through MassDEP will be required to have similar restrictions as Southwick as their permits are updated.

 

Where can I find a list of all communities in the state with water restrictions in place? MassDEP maintains a list of all communities with water use restrictions. A link to the website is as follows: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/water/watersheds/municipal-water-use- restrictions.html

If you have any questions, please contact the Department of Public Works at 413-569-6772.

 

Town of Southwick, MA Figure of Water Use Restrictions

 

Map of Water Restrictions

Residents are permitted to use non-essential outdoor water one day per week, and only before 9:00 AM and after 5:00 PM. Which day of week depends on the geographic location and the property number. The dividing line between regions is Granville Road, Depot Street, and South Longyard Road, all of which run in a general east-west direction. Residents that  live  on Granville Road, Depot Street, and South Longyard Road shall be considered within the North Region.

 

The daily schedule of permitted non-essential outdoor water use is as follows:

  • Monday – North Region, odd number properties
  • Tuesday – North Region, even number properties
  • Wednesday – South Region, odd number properties
  • Thursday – South Region, even number properties

No non-essential water use is allowed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday