A thumbs-up for Scituate water rules

By Jessica Bartlett
Globe Correspondent / July 24, 2011

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The water restrictions that have been imposed on all Scituate residents since Memorial Day have significantly helped conserve water, according to the head of the Department of Public Works.

By this time last year, Scituate had imposed further restrictions, barring the use of water for watering lawns, filling pools, washing cars, or hosing down driveways until after 5 p.m., on an odd and even alternating basis.

Further restrictions were imposed in mid-August, when residents had to comply with all restrictions at all times.

This year, however, many of these problems have been averted by restricting the use of irrigation systems that use municipal water to just one day a week.

“We are very pleased with the impact on our water department ordinance. Previously, we have had to run our treatment plant around the clock and through the weekends and our reservoir drops dangerously low, and neither of those situations has occurred this year,” said DPW director Albert Bangert.

“Residents are respecting the restrictions and it’s gone a long way toward preserving our water supply for the reminder of the summer,’’ he said.

According to Bangert, Scituate will most likely not require any further restrictions for the remainder of the summer, even if the weather remains consistently dry.

Selectmen plan to review the water restrictions in the fall and make recommendations for future years, but already the Water Department is pushing for a continuation of this year’s policies.

“At this point, the Water Resources Committee and Water Department recommend that we continue with this Memorial Day to Labor Day reduction in irrigation systems, so we think its working well,” Bangert said.

Scituate is not the first to restrict water for the summer months. Randolph has had summer-long restrictions for years, prohibiting municipal water for sprinklers and filter hoses from June 1 through Sept. 1.

It’s a development that has enabled the town to avoid further restrictions on residents, an official from the Randolph Department of Public Works said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection also suggested the restrictions to Scituate as a good first step in solving the water-loss problem, Bangert said.

Some selectmen were afraid the restrictions might be too severe when they were proposed in late March, but Bangert said community reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I’ve gotten a surprising number of positive comments - that it makes sense, and people haven’t had to cut back on their own water use because of this tempering of demand,” Bangert said. “Some people with irrigation systems are also saying that it’s working OK.”