Drought said to be likely

MILFORD – The town has a mandatory water conservation program and now the state of New Hampshire is asking people to start limiting their outdoor water use.

According to a notice from the Department of Environmental Services on the town’s website, over the last 60 days, most of the state has received only about half of the precipitation it would normally get, and the entire state is categorized as abnormally dry.

The DES is asking people to refrain from landscape watering and to limit any watering to between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. It also recommends residents suspend other outdoor water uses such as power washing, washing cars, and washing down large surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks.

Over the past five weeks the entire state of New Hampshire has been categorized as abnormally dry and the three-month seasonal drought outlook released July 9, predicts that a drought is likely, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“When conditions are abnormally dry and drought indicators predict a likely drought looming, it is time to take action,” said Stacey Herbold, Water Conservation and Water Use Program Coordinator at NHDES.

Hundreds of homeowners’ wells went dry during the drought in 2016-17, but most of public water systems managed their supplies successfully, she said. “By taking action now, we delay any impending shortages and create a buffer of time to prepare for reduced supplies.”

A drought occurs when a region experiences below-average precipitation over an extended period of time, resulting in low stream flows and low surface water and groundwater levels, a normal, recurrent feature of climate, according to the DES, which said that Although New Hampshire is typically thought of as a water-rich state, it does not have large stores of surface water that can mitigate long-term drought.

Milford’s mandatory program is an odd-even system. Homeowners with an even number address can water their lawn on even days of the month. Those with odd numbers can water on odd days of the month

Lawn watering is only allowed between 5 – 9 a.m. and 5 – 9 p.m.

First time violators will receive a written warning for non-compliance, and serious repeat offenders risk disconnection and a water service reconnection fee. Fines are $50 to reconnect during normal Monday – Friday business hours (7 a.m. – 3 p.m.) and $120 to reconnect after business hours.

“Withdrawing water from the town’s aquifer in a controlled manner allows us to protect against seasonal fluctuation and ensure there is available water for everyday needs and fire protection,” according to Milford’s website.

On the DES website there are guidelines for the public, municipalities, and water utilities. There are also available surveys for homeowners on private wells and other private well users to report water shortages and costs, as well as a form for water systems and municipalities to report outdoor water use restrictions.

Go to www.des.nh.gov and scroll down to Drought Management.