Needham selectmen have instituted a mandatory non-essential water use ban for residents through September to help meet state conservation benchmarks for water usage.
Since officials instituted the ban fairly quickly, there will also be a public hearing on the issue at the July 16 Board of Selectmen meeting at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.
According to the temporary ban, residents will be allowed to use sprinklers and similar systems two days per week before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. through September 30, when the restriction will be lifted. Non-compliance will be met with a $50 fine.
Properties that end in even street numbers may water lawns with sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays; those with residences ending in odd numbers can water during the same hours on Tuesdays and Fridays. No lawn watering via sprinklers or automatic irrigations system is allowed on Saturday, Sunday or Wednesday.
Residents watering with a hand-held hose is allowed during the restricted period.
Selectmen made the decision at their meeting last week to help meet the the state's Department of Environmental Protection's goal of every resident using an average of 65 gallons of water per day. For the past few years, Needham residents used between 67 and 68 gallons per day, said selectman Dan Matthews.
"If we're able to get to 65 gallons during calendar 2013, we will be able to have a lesser set of restrictions in the future," Matthews said. "I think it's good for everybody."
Matthews said the government would first notify anyone who is not complying, but if they continue to use their sprinklers, the town can issue a $50 ticket.
"I hope people will voluntarily comply," he said. "The town doesn’t want to be in the business of writing water tickets. It really just has to do with achieving the 65 gallon per person per day residential standard."
The restriction does not apply to local businesses, Matthews said.
Non-essential water use is defined by town officials as follows:
• Watering lawns and landscaping via sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems
• Washing cars, except for safety reasons
• Washing building surfaces, parking lots, driveways or sidewalks, except as necessary to apply surface treatments such as paint, preservatives, stucco, pavement or cement
For more information on the temporary ban or to find out how to conserve water in your home, visit the town's advisory on the issue.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org