No Relief for Significant Drought Conditions - Remember to Follow Watering Schedules & Practice Fire Safety
From the Town of Wellesley:
Warm weather and a summer with very little rain continues to impact all of Massachusetts as conditions in communities across the State, and in Wellesley, are at significant drought levels. The situation is causing extreme stress to many local water supplies and raising the risk of wildfires.
As summer winds down, Town and Health officials are reminding all residents that it’s still important and necessary to follow day-to-day water conservation efforts and be aware of fire regulations and precautions. Earlier this summer, the Department of Public Works (DPW) put in place mandatory watering restrictions which help make sure there is enough water to meet critical needs and support fire suppression. Under these restrictions, no watering is allowed on Mondays to help our water system recover from heavier weekend use, with alternate day watering based on addresses allowed on Tuesday through Sunday.
“For the most part residents have been very cooperative in following this schedule, especially once they’ve become aware of these restrictions,” said DPW Director Dave Cohen. “These individual efforts contribute so much to our overall Town safety and well-being. And with the Town’s new Water Customer Portal, homeowners can go online and see how much water they’re actually using and saving.”
The Wellesley Fire Department is also grateful for these efforts in light of concerns about the high risk of wildfires fueled by dry vegetation and hot winds. “By cutting back on personal water use, residents are ensuring we have enough water and water pressure to fight fires,” said Fire Chief Rick DeLorie. “We’re reminding everyone to follow Town regulations that prohibit open fires in all parks, conservation areas and Town owned land. If you use fire pits, outdoor grills or torches in your backyards, please be extremely cautious and make sure fires are completely and properly extinguished.”
Natural Resources Concerns
In Wellesley, the drought’s biggest impact can be seen in our natural resource areas. Many smaller streams and brooks have slowed to a trickle and wetland habitats and vernal pools have dried up entirely. The heat is also impacting water quality at Morses Pond which is seeing blooms of blue green algae. This bacteria is the result of warm water and nitrogen from lawn fertilizer run off and can be toxic to people and pets. The Town beach is closed for the season and the Natural Resources Commission and the Recreation Department are advising pet owners and pond neighbors to stay out of the water.
“We’ve confirmed small areas of blue green algae and have posted signs at Morses Pond and on our social media pages. No one should be swimming in the pond or letting their pets swim or drink the pond water,” said NRC Director Brandon Schmitt.
There’s no immediate relief from the drought in store as warm temperatures are expected to continue for at least the next few weeks. For information and resources on the drought, visit the Massachusetts Drought Dashboard.