Water bills are due next week in Marion and at the end of the month in Mattapoisett. A little blue slip of paper included in the mailing notifies residents of a water restriction in effect from June 15 through September 15.
“This is a conservation restriction,” says Rob Zora, Superintendent of the Department of Public Works in Marion. “We’ve had the restriction for many years, and it’s primarily to keep people from watering their gardens and lawns in the midday because of evaporation. You can do more harm than good watering in the middle of the day.”
According to Zora, July and August are the highest water usage months, with the town using from 800,000 to 1 million gallons of water a day. This month’s estimate is approximately 550,000 to 600,000 gallons a day.
In Mattapoisett, this past Saturday, June 1, the town used 577,000 gallons and on Sunday, June 2, the town used 621,000 gallons.
“This past weekend was hot, and we expected a higher usage, but it didn’t happen,” said Nick Nicholson, Superintendent of the Water and Sewer Department in Mattapoisett. According to Nicholson, the weekends almost always show a spike in water usage.
Rochester primarily uses well water and septic systems but has approximately 200 homes connected to the Marion water system. Only a dozen or so homes in Marion operate on a private well system.
The water restriction prohibits outside watering except between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00 am, and between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00 pm, Monday, Wednesday and Friday for even street-numbered homes, and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for odd-street numbered homes. Residents may wash vehicles and water plants on Sundays by means of a hand-held hose between the hours of 6:00 am and 12:00 pm.
Nicholson echoed Zora’s comments by saying that outdoor watering in the summer is an issue.
“It’s about education,” Nicholson said. “You really only need to water once a week and only an inch of water. Watering in the midday isn’t effective and should be done early in the morning or in the late afternoon.”
According to the American Water Works Association (AWWA), at least 50 percent of water consumed by households is used outdoors. Inside your home, bathroom facilities claim nearly 75 percent of the water used.
Indoor usage varies by household, but estimates by the AWWA show that nearly 40 percent gets flushed down the toilets. More than 30 percent is used in showers and baths, while the laundry and dishwashing take about 15 percent. Leaks claim 5 percent or more, which leaves about 10 percent for everything else.
Both Zora and Nicholson stressed the importance of taking care of leaks immediately.
“A leaking faucet goes 24/7 and can add up very quickly and should be fixed immediately,” said Zora. A faucet or toilet leak that totals only two tablespoons a minute becomes 15 gallons a day and 105 gallons a week.
Other suggestions for cutting the water bill include covering your swimming pool to prevent evaporation, mowing your lawn once a week, using low-flow showerheads, and avoiding leaving the water running while shaving or brushing your teeth.
By Joan Hartnett-Barry