BRAINTREE – For the first time in decades, Braintree, Randolph and Holbrook residents can use sprinklers and waterer hoses on their lawns.
During a remote meeting on Wednesday, the Tri-Town Water Board unanimously approved a new water restrictions policy allowing the devices to be used when the water level at the three reservoirs shared by the cities is above 85 percent of capacity. So far, only hand hoses have been approved for outdoor irrigation. The change takes effect immediately.
The use of irrigation systems connected to the water system is prohibited.
Braintree Mayor Charles Kokoros described the easing of restrictions as “a really positive step”.
“We have a water capacity that has not been used for a few years,” said Kokoros.
The reservoir system now has 96 percent of its capacity of 1.765 billion gallons of water. Improvements have added 365 million gallons of water to the system.
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Brian Howard, Randolph city administrator, said the city has not had to impose additional water restrictions in several years.
Howard was concerned whether the increased use of water outdoors would cause problems if the city plans a major plumbing flush from September.
Lou Dutton, Braintree’s superintendent for water and sewage, said flushing shouldn’t be an issue.
“I don’t see that big an impact,” he said.
Kokoros said Randolph was free to place additional restrictions.
“When it comes to that number, it comes to this number,” Kokoros said of the restriction benchmarks. “We’re all in the same boat.”
Phase 2 restrictions come into effect when the reservoirs are less than 70 percent capacity. Outdoor water consumption is limited to 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Phase 3 restrictions are imposed when the water level with the inflowing water falls below 60 percent of capacity and outdoor water consumption is limited to 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The use of water outdoors is prohibited if the water level is below 60 percent and no water is entering as per Phase 4 restrictions.
The increased water consumption allows residents to have greener lawns and increases revenue for the water and sanitation departments in the three cities.
Non-essential water use is prohibited if the water level falls below 50 percent of capacity as per phase 5 restrictions.
Fred Hanson can be reached at [email protected].