March 13, 2017

Worcester's drought downgraded

Courtesy City of Worcester
City Manager Ed Augustus Jr. stands in one of the city's reservoirs in 2016.

Worcester will downgrade its drought alert status to Stage 1 -- a less severe level but one that still comes with water-use restrictions on businesses -- as reservoir conditions have improved.

The city's reservoir capacity has rebounded in recent weeks, reaching 83 percent of capacity. That's down from the typical March 1 average of 93 percent, but still better than it was for much of last year.

In September, the city manager declared a Stage 3 Drought Emergency. Since then, the City's drought restrictions and water conservation awareness campaign have been successful in reducing consumption, the city said in announcing the lower drought level Friday.

In February, for example, average daily consumption was 19.9 million gallons, compared to the February 10-year average of 21.1 million gallons.

The Stage 1 restrictions went into place Friday.

For winter, restrictions are focused on preventing frozen pipes, leak detection and repair, and indoor water conservation. With warmer weather, water conservation will shift to outdoor use, the city said.

The city's water division will also continue to closely monitor the status of the drought on a monthly basis.

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