Mandatory Non-Essential Outdoor Water Use Restriction For Residential & Commercial Customers

water sprinkler

In accordance with the Town of Upton’s Water Management Act Permit, the Town has implemented a mandatory non-essential outdoor water use restriction from May 1, 2016 to September 30, 2016.  Non-essential water use will only be allowed before 9:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m. The restriction is a regulatory requirement from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), and is in keeping with regional water conservation efforts.

Outdoor Use Water Restriction

Non-essential outdoor water use is prohibited between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

The goal of the Commonwealth is to reduce residential water use to 65 gallons per person per day to ensure a sustainable drinking water supply and to protect natural resources and streamflow for aquatic life.

Under typical weather conditions, lawns require only one inch of water per week to remain healthy.  Further information about the mandatory water use restriction is included on the reverse side of this page.  Questions about the mandatory non-essential outdoor water restriction should be directed to the Department of Public Works at (508) 529-3067, between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday – Friday or by email at

The Town of Upton thanks you for your cooperation.

Non-essential outdoor water uses that are subject to the mandatory Odd/Even restriction are:

  • Irrigation of lawns and landscaping via sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems;
  • Washing of vehicles, except in a commercial car wash or as necessary for operator safety; and
  • Washing of exterior building surfaces, parking lots, driveways or sidewalks, except as necessary to apply surface treatments such as paint, preservatives, stucco, pavement or cement.

The following uses are allowed while the mandatory restriction is place:

  • Watering of lawns, gardens, flowers and ornamental plants by means of a hand-held hose.
  • Irrigation to establish a new lawn and new plantings during the month of September.
  • Irrigation of public parks and recreation fields by means of automatic sprinklers outside the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Water uses NOT subject to the mandatory restrictions are:

  • Those required for health or safety reasons, by regulation, for the production of food and fiber, for the maintenance of livestock, or to meet the core functions of a business (e.g. irrigation by golf courses as necessary to maintain tees, greens, and limited fairway watering, or irrigation by plant nurseries as necessary to maintain stock).

Household Water Conservation Measures

Simple improvements such as fixing water leaks, switching to more efficient equipment, and changing gardening practices to conserve water can reduce household water costs and help the Town reach the Commonwealth’s standard of 65 residential gallons per capita per day. Listed below are some outdoor and indoor water conservation measures.

  • Repair leaky faucets, indoors and out.
  • Consider replacing old equipment such as toilets, dishwashers and washing machines.
  • When cooking, peel and clean vegetables in a large bowl of water rather than under running water.
  • Fill sink or basin when washing and rinsing dishes rather than leaving water running.
  • Run dish washers and washing machines only when they are full.
  • Only run a garbage disposal when necessary and experiment with composting as an alternative.
  • Install faucet aerators.
  • Encourage short showers instead of baths and install low-flow showerheads.
  • Turn off water when brushing teeth.
  • Fill the sink to shave rather than leaving the water running.
  • Maximize the use of natural vegetation and establish smaller lawns.
  • Consider planting more trees, shrubs, ground cover, and less grass. Shrubs and ground cover provides greenery for much of the year and usually demands less water.
  • Use native plants in flower beds. Native plants have adapted to rainfall conditions in New England and often provide good wildlife habitat.
  • Cluster plants that require extra care together to minimize time and save water.
  • When mowing your lawn, set the mower blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass shades the soil, improves moisture retention, and leaves more leaf surface to absorb sunlight, allowing grass to grow thicker and develop a deeper root system. This helps grass survive drought, tolerate insect damage, and fend off disease.
  • Only water the lawn when necessary – before 9:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m. – and only when rainfall is not sufficient. Watering the lawn and garden in the morning or late in the evening maximizes the amount of water which reaches the plant roots (otherwise most of the water will evaporate). Avoid watering on windy and hot days. Use soaker hoses to water gardens and flower beds. If sprinklers are used, take care to be sure they do not water walkways and buildings. If you do water your lawn, use no more than one inch each week. This watering pattern will encourage healthier, deep grass roots. Over-watering encourages fungal growth and disease, and results in the growth of shallow, compacted root systems that are more susceptible to drought.  If an automatic lawn irrigation system is used, be sure it has been properly installed, is programmed to deliver the appropriate amount and rate of water, and has rain shut-off capability.
  • Apply mulch around shrubs and flower beds to reduce evaporation, promote plant growth, and control weeds.
  • Add compost or an organic matter to soil as necessary to improve soil conditions and water retention. Collect rainfall for irrigation in a screened container (to prevent mosquito larvae growth).
  • Always use a broom to clean walkways, driveways, decks and porches, rather than hosing off these areas.

1 Comment

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