City of Dover implements mandatory water use restrictions

posted on: 7/1/2021; updated: 7/6/2021

Effective immediately, the City of Dover is implementing a mandatory, citywide ban on outdoor water use following the drought declaration to ensure an adequate and sustainable water supply throughout the summer.

Last week, the U.S. Drought Monitor classified Dover and Strafford County as being in a moderate drought. Since June 23, 2020, the City of Dover has been classified either as abnormally dry or in drought conditions, including extreme drought, creating a significant precipitation deficit heading into what is typically the driest part of the year. Levels at some of the City of Dover drinking water aquifers are below levels measured during the extended 2016 drought.

City Manager J. Michael Joyal, Jr., issued an emergency order on July 1, 2021, enabling water restrictions on nonessential outdoor water use, per City Ordinance 121-51.

"With the drought designation, significant precipitation deficit, and lower than average water aquifer levels, we are instituting mandatory water use restrictions to ensure a sustainable drinking water supply throughout the summer,” Joyal said. “The restrictions will likely remain in place until we see significant rainfall and the aquifers relied upon for the city’s drinking water supply have been replenished.”

Measurement data at City aquifers indicate that water levels at many are two to three feet lower than at the same time last year and during the 2016 drought. The area continues to have a lack of precipitation to replenish aquifers. According to the National Weather Service precipitation measurements at the Skyhaven Airport in Rochester, June was the driest month on record since it started collecting data in 2000.

Under the emergency order, the following outdoor water use restrictions are in place:

City of Dover implements mandatory water use restrictions

posted on: 7/1/2021; updated: 7/6/2021

Effective immediately, the City of Dover is implementing a mandatory, citywide ban on outdoor water use following the drought declaration to ensure an adequate and sustainable water supply throughout the summer.

Last week, the U.S. Drought Monitor classified Dover and Strafford County as being in a moderate drought. Since June 23, 2020, the City of Dover has been classified either as abnormally dry or in drought conditions, including extreme drought, creating a significant precipitation deficit heading into what is typically the driest part of the year. Levels at some of the City of Dover drinking water aquifers are below levels measured during the extended 2016 drought.

City Manager J. Michael Joyal, Jr., issued an emergency order on July 1, 2021, enabling water restrictions on nonessential outdoor water use, per City Ordinance 121-51.

"With the drought designation, significant precipitation deficit, and lower than average water aquifer levels, we are instituting mandatory water use restrictions to ensure a sustainable drinking water supply throughout the summer,” Joyal said. “The restrictions will likely remain in place until we see significant rainfall and the aquifers relied upon for the city’s drinking water supply have been replenished.”

Measurement data at City aquifers indicate that water levels at many are two to three feet lower than at the same time last year and during the 2016 drought. The area continues to have a lack of precipitation to replenish aquifers. According to the National Weather Service precipitation measurements at the Skyhaven Airport in Rochester, June was the driest month on record since it started collecting data in 2000.

Under the emergency order, the following outdoor water use restrictions are in place:

  • No outside lawn watering or irrigation, including automatic sprinklers, automatic irrigation systems, and no unattended lawn watering
  • No washing of vehicles, including automobiles, trailers and trucks
  • No filling of swimming pools greater than 100 gallons

Hand watering of gardens and new plantings is allowed. Commercial car washes, agriculture operations, flower shops and garden centers are not affected by the restrictions at this time. 

Water conservation efforts by all water users, including well users, will reduce the demands on Dover’s water supplies, reduce stress on water resources, and ensure sufficient water is available to meet all customer and emergency operation’s needs, such as fire supply. The emergency order will be enforced by public outreach, followed by warnings to those in violation, and fines of up to $250 per violation, if necessary. For specific questions about the water restrictions, including usage, contact Community Services at 516-6450.

In addition to the mandatory water restrictions outdoors, there are several other ways users can help conserve water, including: 

  • Cutting back on shower times, only doing full loads of laundry when necessary, and turning off the faucet while brushing teeth, doing dishes and washing hands.
  • Replace old water fixtures and appliances that are wasting water. Top-loading washing machines built before 2003 and toilets older than 1994 are known to be the largest water-wasting culprits in the home. Showerheads older than 1994 can also waste a great deal of water, as can older bathroom sink aerators. Selecting ENERGY STAR certified machines and replacing old water fixtures with EPA WaterSense certified fixtures is an easy way to ensure you are choosing products that will save water and perform. For guidance on selecting ENERGY STAR and WaterSense certified products and more water efficiency tips, see the NHDES water-efficiency fact sheets at https://go.usa.gov/x6ADQ.
  • Fix leaks, including running toilets. Running toilets can waste hundreds of gallons a day. Old and worn toilet flappers are often the culprit and are very easy to replace. Also, some toilet leaks can’t be heard. Check for a leak by dropping food coloring (12 drops) or a leak detector dye tablet in the toilet tank. Do not flush for 15 or 20 minutes. If the dye shows up in the bowl, you know that your toilet is running.

The City’s water users can learn more about current drought conditions, outdoor water use restrictions, water efficiency tips, and drought guidance at http://bit.ly/DROUGHTNH.

For more information, contact Community Services at 516-6450.

The emergency declaration and order can be accessed below: