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July 23, 2013

Lack of July rain triggers water bans on North Shore

DANVERS — It may have been a soggy June, but a dry July has towns restricting when residents can water.

On Friday, Danvers increased water restrictions in both Middleton and Danvers to Level 4 due to a precipitous drop in the past week in the flow of the Ipswich River.

These restrictions mean sprinklers and irrigation systems are only allowed to run on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 7 to 10 p.m. Hand watering with a hose and cans is allowed at any time. Car washing is also allowed.

“We had an incredibly wet June, but very little rain so far in July,” said Danvers Department of Public Works director of operations Robert Lee.

While Middleton Pond was 98 percent full last week, “It is really the flow in the Ipswich River that trumps many other things, including the level in the pond,” Lee said. A low flow in the Ipswich River also prevents the town from pumping from its wells along the river.

If the dry weather continues, Topsfield could have a mandatory water ban in effect by the end of the week, said Greg Krom, that town’s water superintendent.

Right now, the town has a voluntary restriction in effect, asking residents not to water from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. “It’s up to the customer whether they want to follow it or not,” Krom said.

Hamilton has mandatory water restrictions in effect that “require residents to limit non-essential water use to protect stream flow for aquatic life and to ensure a sustainable drinking water supply,” according to the town’s website. The use of sprinklers and irrigation systems is banned, while handheld watering may be done at night, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. The ban extends to private well users.

Starting May 1, Wenham banned the use of sprinklers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., its website says.

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