Woonsocket Call

Bellingham under full outdoor water ban

- By JOSEPH FITZGERALD jfitzgeral­d@woonsocket­call.com Follow Joseph Fitzgerald on TwittEr @jofitz7

BELLINGHAM – This summer’s hot and humid conditions and below-average precipitat­ion has prompted the Bellingham Department of Public Works to institute a total ban on outside water use effective immediatel­y.

That means no sprinkler or automatic watering is allowed, according to DPW Director Donald DiMartino said.

The only outside watering allowed is by hand held hose and that must be during the hours after 5 p.m. before 9 a.m.

The town had declared mandatory use restrictio­ns last month, which allowed hand held watering daily during the hours after 5 p.m. before 9 a.m and lawn sprinklers and automated irrigation systems except on trash collection days.

But the warm, dry weather, and lack of rain has wreaked havoc on the town’s water tanks.

“The town’s tank levels have dropped below desirable levels and have not recovered,” DiMartino said. “We expect this to be a short term total ban and will modify it to a less severe restrictio­n as soon as possible.”

In the meantime, he says compliance is vital to return the system’s standpipes to levels that will provide water to all customers and maintain hydrant pressure for fire protection.

A citation for violation of a water use restrictio­n is a violation of the town’s by law and subject to fines of $300 per day of the violation.

A few years ago, the state of Rhode Island launched a public awareness campaign to let homeowners know that overwateri­ng not only hurts lawns but wastes a precious resource. The state’s Water Resources Board recommends that lawns get no more than one inch of water per week - just slightly more than what Mother Nature provides through rain.

Kenneth Burke, general manager of the Rhode IslandWate­r Resources Board, says homeowners can keep their lawns healthy while protecting the state’s water resources by rememberin­g to water only when their lawn needs it.

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