By Chris Lisinski
GROTON — Starting Tuesday, Groton will forbid all residential lawn-watering and irrigation to cope with the stress inflicted by months of drought.
Previously, the town had limited nonessential water use to one day a week per house, with odd-numbered homes allowed on Saturdays and even-numbered homes allowed on Sundays. But Groton’s Board of Water Commissioners voted Thursday night to upgrade to a complete ban, Water Superintendent Tom Orcutt wrote in an email.
The Water Commissioners will formally announce the restrictions at Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, and the policy will go into effect on Tuesday.
This summer has been particularly dry, placing additional strain on water departments. Since April, the Lowell area has seen about 7.5 fewer inches of rain than the 30-year normal for the same timespan, according to data from a National Weather Service Cooperative Weather Observer.
River flow around the area is down, brush fires are up and some local crops are suffering. Even last week’s rain did not do enough.
The state’s Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs declared a drought watch — third-most severe among five levels — for the northeastern and central regions for the first time since 2002. The U.S. Drought Monitor says much of the state is experiencing “severe” drought, which is also the third-to-last status on that scale.
Groton is not alone in banning all lawn-watering and irrigation. Chelmsford and Pepperell implemented similar full-restriction policies, and several other neighboring towns have placed some degree of limitation on nonessential water use.
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