UPDATE: Hudson enacts emergency water ban as drought worsens

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Hudson town iconHUDSON – Emergency water conservation measures took effect in Hudson on Thursday as drought conditions worsen across much of the state.

One of several communities in the area taking action, Hudson has instituted a ban on outdoor watering with possible fines of $100 per violation.

Prohibiting the use of sprinklers and irrigation systems, the Hudson Department of Public Works noted on Friday that the restriction still allows the use of a handheld hose to water gardens, ornamental plants and flowers.

Announcement comes as drought intensifies

This announcement came on the same day that Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card declared a significant drought across much of Massachusetts.

Portions of Berkshire County as well as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket remain in mild drought conditions, according to the state.

Communities on Cape Cod were the only ones in Massachusetts not experiencing a drought as of Friday.

“As the state continues to experience dry conditions, and with little rainfall expected in the immediate forecast, it is important that we all implement water conservation practices to reduce stress on our local water supply systems and our natural habitats,” Card said in a press release.

UPDATE: Hudson enacts emergency water ban as drought worsens
A graphic shows the current status of drought conditions across Massachusetts. (Photo/via Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs)

She continued that the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker “will continue to work closely with its municipal partners and local water suppliers as we further monitor ongoing drought conditions and address its impacts, particularly on the agricultural sector.”

Declaration triggers new action

The “significant drought” declaration triggers a series of guidelines for individuals and communities. These aim to limit water usage through a variety of means.

The state, likewise, has convened an “inter-agency mission group” to coordinate drought responses, among other things.

Locally, Westborough previously implemented water restrictions in late May. Under town guidelines, water uses including using lawn sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems are banned between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“The idea there is that we’re not burning off water in the sun,” Department of Public Works Director Chris Payant said in a Select Board Meeting. “You’re watering your lawn, it’s soaking into the ground and then it’s not immediately disappearing through evaporation.”

Hudson ban to be reviewed by Select Board

Typically adopted by the Select Board, water restrictions can be imposed as an emergency measure by the director of public works in consultation with the town executive assistant.

Now in place, Hudson’s emergency ban will be subject to review and ratification by the Select Board at its next meeting, according to a recent notification from the town.

The Select Board is set to next meet on July 25.

Details on Westborough’s water restriction are available online at https://www.communityadvocate.com/2022/05/25/westborough-imposes-water-restriction/.

Details on Hudson’s outdoor watering ban are also available online at: https://www.townofhudson.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif3281/f/news/emergency_water_ban_in_effect_-_no_outdoor_watering_permitted.pdf

UPDATE: This article has been updated to reflect a clarification by the Hudson Department of Public Works on Friday. Initially described by the department as a ban on outdoor watering, current restrictions still allow watering gardens, ornamental plans and flowers via handheld hoses.

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