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Despite Recent Rain, Mass. Communities Put Water Restrictions In Place

NEEDHAM (CBS) - Across the state, reservoirs and wells are filling up thanks to all the rain. So some homeowners are wondering why so many communities have water restrictions.

As we found out Tuesday, the drought is still with us, but there's reason for optimism. Echo Lake is the main water supply for the town of Milford, and levels are up.

"You can see we're four or five feet from the water's edge. Just months ago it was probably eight to ten feet away," says Dave Condrey, the head of the Milford Water Company.

Last year the reservoir was at 75% of capacity. Not anymore. "Right now we're at about 89%. We haven't seen numbers like this since 2011," Condrey says.

Echo Lake
Echo Lake Water Level sign in Milford (WBZ-TV)

In fact, this year Boston has recorded over 17 inches of rain, which is about 2.5 inches above normal.

"We are allowing, once again, some outside water usage," Condrey says.

But like many communities, Milford still has restrictions. Last year it was a complete ban on outside watering. This year it's less, but still tough.

Handheld hoses are OK for an hour once a week, and irrigation systems can be used after 7pm and before 7am also one day a week. Sprinklers attached to hoses are not allowed.

"A lot of people when they take a look at the levels and the rain we've been having, you know, we're still getting a lot of comments as to why we are at a stage 3, why can't we be lower," says Condrey.

The reason, he says, is because this drought has been going on for several years. "We're still being very cautious. We don't know what June, July and August are going to bring us," Condrey says.

Most of the state has gone from a drought "watch" to the lower level drought "advisory."

Still, there are 31 Massachusetts communities with water restrictions because there's still a water deficit. The 61 communities served by the MWRA should face no restrictions, even though the Quabbin Reservoir is a little below normal.


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