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Drought in Worcester Declared Over

Worcester, MA (May 22, 2017) - City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. announced Monday that the drought in Worcester is effectively over.

As a result of the steady rain experienced in recent weeks, the City's water supply status is being upgraded out of the current Stage 1 Drought Alert to a non-drought status, effective today.

The press is invited to take photos or video at the Quinapoxet Reservoir from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. on Monday. Please RSVP to John Hill at hillJ@worcesterma.gov if you'd like to attend.

Worcester's reservoir capacity has shown continued improvement in recent weeks as a result of steady precipitation. Purchasing water from the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority in the fall and conservation by City customers has also contributed to help the reservoirs rebound. Worcester's reservoir system reached an overall capacity of 96.3 percent on May 1, slightly below the normal May 1 average of 100 percent.

"I want to thank our residents and water users for stepping up and practicing wise water usage throughout the past year," said City Manager Augustus. "Let's continue to conserve as we move through the coming months."

Average daily consumption has remained below the comparable monthly 10-year averages throughout the year thus far. As we transition through spring into summer, careful water use, especially related to lawn watering, is always encouraged. Educational materials from the Department of Public Works & Parks will continue to highlight this area.

Worcester issued a Stage 3 drought declaration in September, when reservoir levels dipped close to 50 percent capacity. After a dry 2015 that left the reservoirs at 50 percent capacity, a series of dry months to start 2016 further exacerbated the problem and a number of restrictions were put in place to lower water usage.

Reservoirs began to recover over the winter, and Worcester moved to Stage 2 drought level in January, followed by Stage 1 in March.

The status of current conditions and forecasts will continue to be monitored closely and evaluated on a monthly basis as is typical. In the event that conditions become unfavorable as we move through the summer months, it may require returning to drought status, though the likelihood of such a scenario is considered remote at this time. Worcester water users should plan accordingly and be prepared to make adjustments to their normal water use patterns if such an event occurs.

Information relative to the current reservoir status and any future updates will be available on the webpage www.worcesterma.gov/dpw/drought.

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