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Mass. Towns Seek Emergency Water Supplies Amid Drought

ASHLAND (CBS) - The prolonged drought in Massachusetts has a number of communities looking for emergency water supplies. In the town of Ashland water levels at the reservoir are getting so low the town is reaching out to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority for help.

They are hoping to get a connection to the MWRA network through the neighboring town of Southboro to obtain at least 200,000 gallons. But it comes at a price into the thousands, according to town manager Michael Herbert who says he can dip into a reserve fund to the pay the cost.

Roy Correia, a general foreman at the town's water treatment facility, says at least five feet around the reservoir is exposed and it won't be long before the water could be low enough for the pumps to stop working. "If the weather continues like this and the draw continues like this, maybe a foot or two away which could be in a week or two," he said.

Fred Laskey, executive director of the MWRA, says the Quabbin Reservoir is still at 85 percent capacity. "We have the ability to help communities around us who are stressed because of the drought," said Laskey who has seen a 38 percent increase in demand this year.

In the meantime, the Ashland town manager says he's seeking a total ban on outdoor water use and Roy Correia is looking ahead. "It affects our system pressures, it affects fire protection, water tanks and quality," he says.

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