In Portsmouth, the City Council unanimously voted to outlaw watering lawns in the city beginning Thursday, September 8 to battle the recent drought facing the city.
“The public knows the seriousness of the issue,” said John Bohenko, Portsmouth City Manager. According to Seacostonline, Bohenko could have passed the ban himself on the basis of an emergency, but he figured having the council vote would be better so everyone would see this issue as prevalent.
Experts believe that the optimum amount of water for the average lawn is about one inch per watering session. This doesn’t apply for everyone, however, especially residents that are dealing with water shortages like Portsmouth.
The total amount of water generated through rainfall for August was only 1.41 inches.
NH1 reports that September marks the 11th consecutive month that Portsmouth has had below average levels of precipitation and over the last four years, the city has received less than 48 inches of rain that it has normally seen in the past.
“It’s time to go to an all-out no-lawn-watering ban,” said Brian Goetz, Deputy Public Works Director.
The September report, labeled the “Portsmouth Water Supply Status Report,” detailed the shortage of water recently and dating back a few years.
“In order to assess annual precipitation conditions, total precipitin over a rolling 12-month period is compared to the normal annual precipitation of 48.19 inches,” the report read. Over the last year, the rainfall levels only equals roughly 33 inches, which is nearly 15 inches below the normal level.
The report states that losing the Haven Well as a source of water proved detrimental to the city because it previously contributed around 10% of the city’s water.
“Also, the very low water level of the reservoir and declining water quality in the reservoir are prompting the need for reducing withdrawal from the reservoir and reducing water demands,” added the report’s authors.
Water demand sits around 4.7 million gallons as of Labor Day.