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TOWNSEND/PEPPERELL — A few years ago, the rules changed. Summertime water restrictions are now commonplace.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection now has mandatory, seasonal water restrictions, said Townsend Water Department Supervisor Paul Rafuse.

Water suppliers have two choices on how to measure the need for a restriction, he said. They can rely on a stream flow measurement or go by a calendar restriction.

“Most water departments don’t go by the stream flow,” he said. “It’s just a pain in the neck.” The local measurements require a constant back and forth between the suppliers and DEP.

The DEP sets a standard use of 65 gallons of water per person per day, averaged over a year, he said. If a district uses more than that, the state agency can set an even stricter water restriction.

Water-takers might assume that the local water department set the new restrictions, Rafuse said.

“As a water supplier … we’d be the bad guy,” he said.

The average is over the course of the year, and the summer months are the highest demand. Output doubles, Rafuse said. Everyone wants a nice, plush lawn.

The statewide restrictions can come as a surprise to locals. Townsend is a small town and most people know that there is plenty of water available, Rafuse said. “It’s hard to make sense of it all.”

“The DEP tends to make rules and regulations as a one-size-fits-all type of thing,” he said, “But they’re the boss.”

In Pepperell, Joe Jordan has been superintendent of the water division for nearly a year. Previously, he worked in the water department in Fitchburg.

“That’s statewide. Everyone has water conservation measures in place in the summer,” he said.

“There’s all different ways people do it,” he said.

In Pepperell, between May 1 and Oct. 31, nonessential outdoor water use is restricted to even-numbered days of the month for homes with even-numbered addresses and to odd-numbered days for homes with odd numbers.

In Townsend, the water restriction for nonessential use is shorter, from May 1 to Sept. 30, but water-takers are not allowed to use outside water between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Odd-numbered addresses can use water before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. on odd-numbered days. Even-numbered houses are restricted to the same hours, but on even-numbered days.