Water Conservation

Tip: Do the Walk Test

If the sun happens to be shining, don't assume you need to turn on the sprinklers! With all of the rain we've gotten this summer, your lawn may be happy with a bit of a dry spell. Rather than relying on the sun, a calendar or clock, let your feet "tell" you when your lawn needs a drink by doing the "Walk Test" - when you can clearly see your footprints in the lawn for several minutes after walking across it, the grass is thirsty. Watering at dawn is healthiest for your grass and conserves water by limiting evaporation.

Environmental Protection Agency Offers Tips to Save Water & Money

August is peak water use season and with a few simple tips from EPA's WaterSense program homeowners can save water and as much as $110 annually on their water bills.

"Peak water use can be expensive, taxes local water systems, and threatens future water supply and quality," said Peter S Silva, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Water. "A few simple changes can help consumers reduce their water bills, and in turn, save them money."

On average, an American household uses about 260 gallons per day, but this amount climbs to around 1,000 gallons per day during peak water use season with some households using as much as 3,000 gallons a day.

Here are some tips to help reduce water use:

  • Water yards only when needed.
  • Consider using WaterSense labeled toilets, faucets and faucet accessories, which use at least 20% less water and can save $60 per year.
  • Water landscapes only when needed. Watering in the very early morning or evening is best.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes, and scrape dishes instead of rinsing when loading the dishwasher.
  • For summer refreshment, keep a pitcher of water in the fridge instead of running the tap until it is cold.
  • Put your favorite handy person to work fixing leaks around the home, which can waste about 200 gallons per week. Fixing leaks can add up to about $50 in utility bill savings annually.

In 2008 alone, WaterSense labeled toilets, faucets, and faucet accessories helped Americans save more than 9.3 billion gallons of water and realize more than $55 million in savings on water and sewer bills. That is enough water to supply 100,000 average households for a year.

WaterSense is a partnership program sponsored by EPA to protect the future of our nation's water supply by promoting and enhancing the market for water-efficient products and services.

Even & Odd Outdoor Watering Policy

Every year between May 1 and October 31, the Water Department encourages residents to comply with the voluntary Even and Odd Outdoor Watering Policy.

Properties with even numbered street addresses may water on even days of the month and properties with odd numbered street addresses may water on odd days of the month. The policy can be found in the General Bylaws of the Town under Chapter 169 and the section related to outdoor water use is section 169.7 section D through H. Water quantities that can be taken from the local aquifer are regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) by pumping limits on each well and also by the Water Management Act.

Water conservation during the summer months is important as water demand increases dramatically and public water suppliers are restricted on how much can be pumped from wells on a daily basis. Should the demand exceed the supply, the Board of Water Commissioners have the authority to declare a state of water emergency and take additional steps to limit outdoor water use to ensure that we have enough water for drinking and fire protection.

When people are reported in violation of the volunteer policy, they are sent a letter explaining the policy and requesting that they adhere to it. Because most people do adhere to the policy, the Westford Water Department has been able to meet the demand even during dry periods to date. However, if everyone ignored the policy, the results might be different. Established lawns only need 1 inch of water per week. Over watering actually creates a weak grass plant with shallow roots that cannot tolerate drought or pests.

Our primary conservation goal is to educate the public about how valuable water is as a natural resource and to instill a sense of responsibility to have people think about how much water they use. The water conservation policy does help to bring water use to the public's attention and make people think about water use when they turn on the tap. DEP recommends that all towns have a water conservation policy and that towns work to keep their per capita use per day less than 65 gallons per person per day.

All of the Town's public water supply is from the Stony Brook and Beaver Brook Aquifers. It is important to remember that any water resource can be influenced by public and private use, human and animal activities, and surface and ground water quality.

What You Can Do To Help Conserve Water (And Lower Your Water Bills)

Inside Your Home:

  • Check for leaks from all pipes, sinks, toilets, etc.
  • Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth.
  • Take shorter showers or shallow baths.
  • Only run the dishwasher and/or washing machine when they are full.
  • If you wash dishes by hand, don't leave the water running.
  • Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator. Then you won't have to run the faucet to cool it.
  • Purchase WaterSense Certified appliances and other products (see information provided below)

Outside Your Home:

  • Check outside hoses, faucets, and automatic sprinklers for leaks.
  • Water lawns only when needed (only need about an inch of water a week!)
  • Water lawns early or late in the day.
  • Minimize the size of your lawns.
  • Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants to slow evaporation of moisture.
  • Xeriscape - Create landscapes that incorporate plants that require little water/are drought tolerant.
  • Use a broom to sweep your driveway, garage, or sidewalk instead of using water.
  • Use a bucket of water to wash your car or bike and only rinse quickly with a hose.

Please remember to only water according to the Even and Odd Outdoor Watering Policy which is effect from May 1 through October 31 every year.