Water restrictions downgraded

Sep 30, 2022

Dartmouth officials announced Friday that its ban on nonessential water use will be lifted as of Oct. 1.

The ban was initially placed in mid-August after the state declared Southeastern Massachusetts to be in a Level 3 Critical Drought. At the time, the region had seen very little rain and very high temperatures.

According to data collected at  a weather station at New Bedford Regional Airport by the National Weather Service, September’s rainfall totaled just 4.89 inches — on par for expected precipitation in a normal year.

With the recent rains, the state placed the region in a Level 2 Significant Drought on Sept. 30, meaning that while Dartmouth residents can once again wash their vehicles at home, along with other outdoor surfaces, irrigation will still be limited to the hours of 5 p.m. to 9 a.m.

The downgrade comes as the town’s drought level moves from a “critical” level 3 to a “significant” level 2.

Though restrictions have lessened, public works officials encourage residents to be conservative with their water usage in order to ensure drinking water supply and fire suppression can be met as the town recovers from the drought.

“While recent rains have brought welcome relief, the ongoing drought has taken months to develop and will take more than a few days of rain to resolve,” Superintendent of Water and Sewer Steve Sullivan said in a notice to residents.“These efforts will give our Dartmouth water supply system and our natural habitats the best opportunity to rebound quickly as the drought subsides.”