From the Massachusetts Drought Management Task Force, the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

1. Educate the public about water conservation techniques, including:

  • Information on impacts of dry conditions on the water system and the environment
  • Information on the current status of your water supply so consumers can follow how the situation is changing - either for better or worse
  • Tips of water conservation techniques for consumers (a separate fact sheet is being provided on this topic).
  • Explanation of any water use restrictions that are or may be imposed, including clear statements of what is and what is not allowed
  • Set up a low water use landscape area at town hall to provide an example of an alternative to a green lawn
  • Use the appropriate means to communicate your message, including local press, signs, posters, bill stuffers and special mailings. Pictures of your low reservoirs are effective to convey the message.

2. By-laws and Outdoor Watering Restrictions

  • First pass a by-law which empowers community to limit or ban outdoor watering
  • Limit outdoor watering to one or two days per week, or ban outdoor use if the situation warrants
  • Limit watering to the hours when evaporation is the lowest (e.g., 4 am to 6 am)
  • Require hand held hoses
  • Limit outdoor car washing
  • Limit filling of swimming pools

3. Contact the largest commercial and industrial water users in the community

  • Restaurants: Ask to supply water upon request only and put stickers on bathroom mirrors, run only full dishwasher loads, retrofit kitchen fixtures
  • Commercial: Limit or stop watering lawns and landscapes. Ask to do employee education including bathroom stickers, ask to retrofit bathrooms with low flow toilets and spring loaded valves on faucets, full dishwasher loads in cafeterias
  • Industrial: Limit or stop watering lawns and landscapes. Undertake employee education, heating and cooling options to reduce water use
  • Universities and other institutions: Limit or stop watering lawns and landscapes. Install low flow bathroom fixtures and low flow shower heads, undertake education using signs, cover pools to reduce evaporation

4. Water System Management and Emergency Preparedness

  • Increase the frequency and intensity of leak detection activities and ensure prompt action to fix system leaks
  • Limit or delay flushing of water mains and hydrants
  • Check and/or develop interconnections with neighboring systems to provide for increased redundancy
  • Explore potential emergency sources of supply and work with MassDEP on how these sources can be brought on-line if necessary
  • Report to MassDEP if a water emergency is declared or if water restrictions are put into effect.