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Worcester Bans Outdoor Watering, Limits Tap Water At Restaurants

WORCESTER (CBS/AP) — The second-largest city in drought-stricken Massachusetts has banned outdoor water use and ordered restaurants to stop serving tap water unless it's requested by a customer.

Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus, Jr. announced the new drought emergency rules Thursday, saying that the city's reservoir system has dropped to 55 percent capacity.

Residents and businesses have been ordered to stop using sprinklers and hand-held hoses to water plants or clean cars and sidewalks. They can still use watering cans or drip irrigation systems. Fountains that use drinking water must also be turned off. New landscaping is discouraged.

Restaurants have been told not to automatically serve tap water, but provide it only if a customer asks.

The city says its reservoirs are typically at 80 percent capacity going into the fall.

The situation is dire at Quinapoxet Reservoir in Holden, a major part of Worcester's water supply. It is now bone dry in many areas, visible sections of land that would normally be underwater.

"We're really hoping to get a 20 percent reduction in use of water to try and conserve the really small amount of water that we have left," says Augustus. "The prospects of the next 90 days is for very little precipitation."

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker reports

TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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