By Ray Carbone
WARNER – The state’s current drought conditions have led the Warner Village Water District to institute a temporary ban on outdoor water usage, including watering lawns and washing cars.
On June 25, the water commissioners voted to take the precautionary measure, asking customers to restrict their outdoor usage during daytime hours until further notice (likely at the end of summer).
‘We have to start trucking in water, it’s a really tough thing. We use an average of 60,000 to 70,000 gallons a day… A truck carries about 6,000 gallons a load so if we need to bring in 10 to 15 loads a day, that’s $800,000 or more pretty quick.’
Ray Martin, admin. asst. for WVWD
“July and August are typically our worst months,” said Ray Martin, administrative assistant for the district.
The commission imposed a $25 fine for first-time violations and $50 for each subsequent violation but, based on past occurrences, Martin doesn’t foresee any enforcement problems. “Compliance will be very high, probably 99-percent,” he predicted.
The district, which is a separate legal municipality from the town, supplies water and sewer services to approximately 185 residences and 30 commercial enterprises. Its service area covers a radius of about a one-half to one-mile from the village center. The three-person elected commission manages is the district.
The commission’s recent decision to restrict water use is based on two factors, according to the website notice.
One is the state’s prolonged drought conditions, which have impacted the productivity of the district’s two wells that draw on the Warner River aquifer. (Officially, central New Hampshire is listed as being under moderate drought conditions.)
The second is that the district’s older well is experiencing a drop in productivity, Martin explained.
The commissioners’ statement says the board is looking at long-term solutions to the problems, including siting a new back-up well and installing more sophisticated well management controls, but the current budget can’t fund such improvements.
Martin said the new restrictions should allow the district to manage this summer, but the commission is prepared if the drought worsens. “Right now, if we have to start trucking in water, it’s a really tough thing,” he explained. “We use an average of 60,000 to 70,000 gallons a day so just add that up. A truck carries about 6,000 gallons a load so if we need to bring in 10 to 15 loads a day, that’s $800,00 or more pretty quick… Years ago, we had to truck in water.”
At around the same time that the Warner commissioners announced their decision, the Portsmouth Water Division asked its city’s residents to voluntarily cut back on their outdoor water use.
Martin said he’s aware of at least one other community that has already or is considering similar measures.
This story first appeared in the InterTown Record weekly newspaper, published in North Sutton, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, July 10.
NOTE: Shortly after this story was published, the New London-Springfield Water System Precinct announced that, effective immediately, there is a mandatory water ban on all residential outside irrigation between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.