Turn off the water, Lynn

Lynn Reservoir has nearly dried up as a result of the regional drought, causing officials to instate an enforced water ban. (Spenser Hasak)

LYNN — After another dry week, the city’s reservoir has dwindled down to 48.9 percent capacity, placing the city in an “enforced [water] ban,” carrying heavy fines for those still using water outdoors.

Although a city-wide mandatory water ban has been in place since Tuesday, Sept. 13, when the reservoir level dropped below 51 percent, stricter enforcement of excessive water use is on the way.

Water Superintendent Richard Dawe said in an interview Monday evening that the Water and Sewer Commission, after a period of delay to give residents and businesses time to learn the new rules, will issue warnings to first-time offenders using water outdoors, 200 dollar fines for second offenses, and termination of service by the fourth offense.

“We have given the residents a grace period so that word of the Mandatory Water Ban could get out to the residents within a reasonable time frame,” Dawe said.

Dawe said that in early fall, there is no dire need for residents to water their lawns or gardens, especially in a long drought.

“At this time of year, the sun angle’s really low, we’re coming into October, the grass should not burn out anymore, and we really don’t see a point for outside watering, considering that we’re in the seventh month of this drought. and we’re coming off the gross growing season that we don’t see the need for all that water,” Dawe said.

Currently, outdoor water use of any kind is restricted throughout the city. Additionally, the commission recommended last week that residents conserve their water usage by turning off their faucets while brushing their teeth or shaving and only using dishwashers and laundry machines for full loads. Restaurants have also been advised to only serve water to customers upon request.

Dawe said that Lynn will not be out of drought until more significant and regular rain falls on the city. He said that if rain patterns return to normal during the colder weather seasons, the commission will notify the public.

“What we’re looking for is a substantial amount of rain. Then, to get in a somewhat normal pattern of about an inch a week. The average is usually like three and a half to four inches per month, and then hopefully the ground can recharge,” Dawe said. “Hopefully over the fall and the winter we can recover and we can return to normal next year. We will notify the residents when things return to normal.”

Anthony Cammalleri can be reached at

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