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Water ban likely in Southbridge



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Use of lawn sprinklers during summer daylight hours, as shown above at a Southbridge home, could become a thing of the past under Southbridge’s new water permit. It’s already banned in Sturbridge as long as the Quinebaug River’s water level remains low. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
July 18, 2010
Water, water everywhere and not a drop to … water the lawn?

That's essentially what the ongoing water ban may feel like to some people in Sturbridge, and some, even in town government, don't think it's fair. But Southbridge is likely to see one soon, anyway.

"The rationale [for the ban] doesn't hold up as you take a wider and wider look at the region," said Sturbridge Town Administrator Shaun Suhoski. "There's little evidence the flow in the river has any connection with the aquifer from which we're drawing."

His town gets its drinking water from a series of wells, not surface water. But, under its state Department of Environmental Protection water permit, the town had to ban "non-essential outside water use" during daytime starting July 5 because the Quinebaug River's flow is well below the trigger level of 47.2 cubic feet per second (cfs) near Westville Dam.

"Yes, we are well below [historical flow rates] in most of central and eastern Massachusetts, because it hasn't rained," said DEP Water Management Program Chief Duane Levangie. "We've had spotty downpours that mostly became runoff, but no long, soaking rains."

See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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