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Worcester Downgrades to Stage 1 Drought

Worcester, MA (March 10, 2017) - City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. announced Friday that Worcester will downgrade its drought alert status to Stage 1 as reservoir conditions have improved.

Worcester's reservoir capacity has made continued gains in recent weeks as a result of steady precipitation and reduced consumption. The reservoir system reached an overall capacity of 83.2 percent on March 1st - much improved, but still below the March 1st average of 93 percent.

Videos, signage, a list of current restrictions, as well as updates are available at www.worcesterma.gov/dpw/drought.

In September, the City Manager declared a Stage 3 Drought Emergency. Since then, the City's drought restrictions and water conservation awareness campaign have been successful in reducing consumption. For the month of February, average daily consumption was 19.9 million gallons, compared to the February 10-year-average of 21.1 million gallons.

"Our residents, businesses and organizations have done a phenomenal job of conserving water, and we need them to keep it up," said City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. "We're recovering, but we’re not out of the woods just yet."

The downgrade to Stage 1 will be effective today. The City's water division will continue to closely monitor the status of the drought on a monthly basis. Precipitation and consumption during the remainder of the winter and into the spring will be a deciding factor for reservoir recharge and what restrictions, if any, will need to be in place this spring and beyond. While the reservoir system has made gains, it remains 10 percent below normal capacity, and the water supply situation remains a concern.

"Even though we've improved in the past several months, a repeat of last year is not outside the realm of possibility," said Paul Moosey, Commissioner of the Worcester Department of Public Works & Parks. "We need everyone to continue to conserve."

With the winter season, water use restrictions and recommendations are focused on preventing frozen pipes, leak detection and repair, and indoor water conservation. As spring arrives the water conservation message will refocus to outdoor water use. Educational materials from public works will continue to highlight these areas.

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