City to Set an Example in Curbing Water Use During Droughts

Entrance to Swasey Field. (WHAV News photograph.)

City parks would curb water use during a drought, says Deputy Public Works Director Robert E. Ward.

After asking residents to conserve water during the current drought, Haverhill will “set an example” by limiting spraying at city-owned grounds under revised emergency water restrictions.

City councilors Tuesday unanimously approved an amended outdoor water use restriction ordinance which “specifies thresholds at which water restriction would be imposed based on climatic conditions and water levels in the reservoirs.” It also includes changes by Deputy Public Works Director Robert E. Ward, such as adding “flexibility” and imposing tighter restrictions before an emergency.

“We have the drought level triggers pretty well set based on lake level. But we also added the flexibility for us to look at the lake level trends and look ahead. And if we feel it’s necessary to implement some conservation measures prior to actually hitting the defined trigger levels, we would have that flexibility. That was actually one of the mayor’s ideas and I agree with him, I thought it was a good idea,” Ward said. “You know, it’s a little bit of prevention.”

Haverhill City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua.

Haverhill City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua.

Conservation measures include allowing water department reviews to irrigation at city parks and at homes and businesses establishing re-seeded or re-sodded lawns. Also, outdoor water use can be limited to specific days and hours. Ward, when questioned by Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua, said “the city should set the example.”

“I understand that we have tremendous amount of money invested in our public parks and playfields and I support those. But I actually support what you just said, if we require Haverhill taxpayers not to water their lawns or their flowers, or whatever the case may be, that we should set an example by not watering our public facilities,” Bevilacqua said. Ward replied, “We wouldn’t allow public parks to be watered if we’re banning outdoor watering by residents.”

Earlier attempts by WHAV to reach Parks and Recreation Director Vincent Ouelette were unsuccessful.

The revised ordinance establishes four water supply drought status thresholds at Kenoza Lake, the city’s main water source, in compliance with a Water Management Act Permit issued to the city by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Water restriction violators would be subject to penalties ranging from “warning” on first offense, to $100 on third or subsequent offense which also “may be subject to termination of water service.”

4 thoughts on “City to Set an Example in Curbing Water Use During Droughts

  1. 3~4 mornings a week I run the trail around Kenosa, and I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. For the past two weeks I’ve been away, so I haven’t seen the water level there first hand. This morning I was there and can tell you that the water level is NOT lower than it normally is for this time of year. In fact, last summer the water level was significantly lower than it is this year.

    The mayor once again is lying!! But why? What is the end goal for him coming up with this fictional tale of extremely low water levels? Does he have some water related financial bomb he hasn’t been telling taxpayers about and will now use this for some unannounced expenditure? Knowing what we know about this lying, conniving mayor why the scare tactics…what’s he up to?

    Bob Ward: You’re a really good guy and I know you’re just doing and saying what you’re told to by your corrupt boss, but sorry Bob, you can’t be believed. Seeing is believing…..

    • I am also frequently at Kenoza. In the past 10 days, water was diverted from somewhere to Kenoza Lake. So what you see as levels that may be normal for this time of year is not at the levels observed before the water diversion.