TOWNSEND — In accordance with our Water Management Act Permit issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the Water Department is required to implement water-conservation restrictions immediately when certain triggers are met. The lack of rain has caused USGS stream flow triggers to decline below the allowable limit of 31.85 cubic feet per second for three consecutive days. This is an indicator that water restrictions are needed to limit nonessential outdoor water use to ensure a sustainable drinking water supply and to protect aquatic life.

The first offense of ignoring the restrictions is punishable by a warning, $50 for the second offense, $100 for a third offense, and $100 for each additional offense.

The restriction applies Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Outside the restriction hours, handheld sprinklers are recommended for lawn, flower and garden watering; filling of swimming pools is limited to topping off; washing of vehicles only at commercial car wash.

Allowable water uses during the restriction include for health or safety reasons, for the production of food and fiber, for the maintenance of livestock, or to meet the core functions of a business.

The best time to water your lawn is early morning (4 to 6 a.m.). Use shut-off nozzles on hoses and automatic shut-off devices on irrigation systems: Unattended hoses can use 10 gallons or more per minute. Use shut-off nozzles to save water. Also, if you have an in-ground irrigation system, use a rain shut-off device that prevents the system from operating during rainstorms.

Capture and reuse rainwater: Use cisterns or rain barrels to capture rainwater from downspouts for use in your yard. A lid, mesh fabric or several drops of baby oil on the surface will prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Mulch to keep roots cool and moist: Mulch can serve as a ground cover that reduces water evaporation from the soil while reducing the number of weeds that compete for soil moisture.