Water-Use Restrictions Eased as Drought Conditions Improve

The City is easing water-use restrictions that have been in effect since the summer, triggered by Commonwealth of Massachusetts drought guidelines. Now that the region’s drought status has improved to “mild,” the Greenfield Department of Public Works is urging residents and businesses to voluntarily conserve water.

The mandatory ban on all nonessential outdoor watering and water use is lifted, effective immediately. The ban was issued August 10, following a “Level 3 Critical Drought” declaration from the state.

“The City’s water system continues to recover, not only from extreme drought conditions, but also from dredging of the Leyden Glen Reservoir, which required us to empty the reservoir last spring,” said DPW Director Marlo Warner. “We are appreciative of the steps residents and businesses have taken to reduce water consumption. They made a big difference and ensured we had adequate water reserves for emergencies.”

The reservoir has refilled to nearly 60% of its capacity of 44 million gallons. The Millbrook Wellfield and the Green River Pumping Station continue to meet the city’s water needs. The wellfield continues to recover from the summer drought conditions. The water level in the Green River is stable.

“With a little more precipitation, we can get the reservoir filled and allow the water to clear up from the dredging and we’ll be able to tap it again,” added Warner. “In the meantime, we’re asking people to continue to conserve water where they can.”

Voluntary water conservation measures include:

  • Shut off the tap. When using water from a faucet, do not let the water run while you are rinsing dishes, brushing your teeth or shaving. A dripping faucet can waste as much as 20 gallons of water a day.
  • Wash full loads only. Wait until you have a full load of laundry. Don’t wash just a pair of jeans or a couple of shirts. Set the load setting (small, medium, large) to match the amount of laundry you’re putting in.
  • Let the dishwasher do the work. Running the dishwasher once a day fully loaded uses about 17 gallons of hot water. Washing dishes by hand three times a day uses about 10 gallons of hot water each time, or 30 gallons total.
  • Install water-saving devices. A standard toilet uses about 3.5 gallons per flush, while a low-flow toilet uses only 1.6 gallons per flush. Flow restrictors on faucets, low-flow shower heads and toilet tank savers can also conserve water.
  • Limit car washing. Using two buckets of water, one with soap and the other with clean water for rinsing, uses less water than rinsing with a hose.

More information on water conservation is available online from the Massachusetts Drought Management Task Force at https://mass.gov/info-details/drought-status.

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