On Beacon Hill: Officials tighten Worcester, area water restrictions as drought envelops state

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From State House News Service

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TOP OF THE HILL

Officials tighten Worcester, area water restrictions as drought envelops state

Restaurants in Worcester and Holden can no longer serve tap water to diners unless specifically asked to do so, a result of those Central Massachusetts communities ratcheting up water-use restrictions in the face of a deepening drought.

The Worcester Department of Public Works and Parks moved the city to a “Stage 3 Drought Emergency” on Thursday, and implemented additional water-use restrictions “in order to assure the long-term availability of water to meet the critical health, safety and economic needs of the city,” DPW&P Commissioner Paul J. Moosey wrote to City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr.

The reservoir system that Worcester, Holden, Paxton and parts of West Boylston rely on for drinking water was 55.1 percent full as of Sept. 1, Moosey wrote. The Sept. 1 average is 81.7 percent full.

Drought Management Task Force members -- co-chair and Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs' assistant director of water policy, Vandana Rao, left; Energy and Environmental Secretary Matthew Beaton, center; and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg -- met Thursday and received an update on drought conditions from various state and federal agencies.

Antonio Caban / State House News Service

Drought Management Task Force members — co-chair and Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ assistant director of water policy, Vandana Rao, left; Energy and Environmental Secretary Matthew Beaton, center; and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg — met Thursday and received an update on drought conditions from various state and federal agencies.

Residents in those communities are also banned from all outdoor watering, except for using a watering can to water plants by hand, and are prohibited from using water to wash cars, clean driveways, decks, sidewalks or filling swimming pools, the city said.


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