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2017 Drought Alert

Reservoir Capacity as of 4/7/2017:

Reservoir Capacity TrendsWorcester's reservoir capacity has shown continued improvement in recent weeks as a result of steady precipitation. The reservoir system reached an overall capacity of 83.2% on March 1, 2017, which is still below the March 1st average of 93%.

Based on current conditions and forecasts, the City's water supply status is being upgraded from the Stage 2 Drought Warning to a Stage 1 Drought Alert, effective March 10, 2017. The status of the drought will continue to be monitored closely and evaluated on a monthly basis. The remainder of the winter and coming spring continue to be a deciding factor for reservoir recharge and what restrictions, if any, will need to be in place this spring and beyond.

Customers need to continue to do their part and conserve water where they can. For the first two weeks of February average daily consumption was 19.5 million gallons compared to the February ten-year-average daily consumption of 21.1 million gallons. Worcester water users' sustained efforts to reduce water consumption have been commendable.

While the current trend has shown some improvement, being 10% below the normal capacity means the water supply situation remains a concern and all customers need to be reminded to make an effort to conserve water. 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 DPW&P will continue to highlight these areas.

Stage 1 Restrictions

The target goal of use reduction under a Winter Stage 1, Drought Alert is a five (5) percent reduction from average winter water use and to maintain consumption at 20 million gallons per day or less.

  • Applicable to All Water Users
    1. Water waste is prohibited.
    2. Failure to repair a controllable leak, including, broken sprinkler heads, water services, fire pipes, leaking valves, leaking or broken pipes or faucets is prohibited.
    3. The operation of ornamental fountains or ponds that use potable water except where necessary to support aquatic life or water quality is prohibited.
  • Government
    1. Reduce non-essential water use. As used herein, non-essential water uses are those that do not have a health or safety impact and are not needed to meet the core function of the department.
    2. Notify consecutive systems of actions being taken and require them to implement equivalent drought stage measures to reduce water use by ten percent.
    3. Maintain public education efforts on ways to reduce water use.
    4. Maintain enforcement efforts.
    5. Update list of known groundwater and leaks.
    6. Increase public leak detection efforts.
    7. Promote leak detection and repair.
  • Commercial, Industrial and Institutional Business Use Restrictions
    1. Identify and repair leaks on private plumbing, automatic irrigation systems and service lines.
    2. Prohibit the installation of new separate water meters for irrigation.
    3. The use of water for construction purposes from designated fire hydrants under existing hydrant use permit shall be limited.
  • Residential
    1. Identify and repair leaks on private plumbing, automatic irrigations systems and service lines.
    2. Prohibit the installation of new separate water meters for irrigation.
    3. Use covers for all types of pools, hot tubs, and Jacuzzi type pools when not in use.

Water Conservation

Continuing to reduce water use will slow the rate of depletion of our water supply and help ensure a reliable water supply for the future of our city.

Thank you for your help in conserving our most valuable resource.



Non-criminal citations (tickets) may continue to be issued to any customer found to be wasting water or that fails to implement corrective actions after being notified of water waste by the Department of Public Works and Parks.

During Declared Droughts and Water Emergencies violators of the Water Use Restrictions will be subject to fines in accordance with the following table as published in Worcester's Revised Ordinances. c. 7 § 18(g):

Emergency StageIIIIIIIV
1st Offense in a Calendar Year $0 $100 $200 $200
2nd Offense in a Calendar Year $50 $200 $250 $250
3rd Offense in a Calendar Year $100 $250 $300 $300
4th and Subsequent Offenses $200 $300 $300 $300
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