News Flash

Town of Chatham News & Updates

Posted on: May 12, 2022

Outdoor Watering Ban Modified

Image of water irrigation


Media Contacts: Dr. Robert Duncanson, Director of Health & Natural Resources 


Outdoor Watering Ban Modified 

CHATHAM – On May 10, 2022, the Select Board modified the ban on outdoor watering to allow watering of lawns, shrubs, and flower gardens under specific conditions. The Board also clarified water use by the Fire Department. 

The modified ban continues to prohibit:

  1. Washing of vehicles, driveways, sidewalks, decks, houses, or outdoor furniture. 
  2. Topping off of swimming pools or hot tubs.

Use of municipal water is allowed for the following under the noted conditions:

  1. All lawns, established or new, can be watered no more than 2X per week between 5 pm and 9 am. 
  2. Shrubs and flower gardens can be watered 2X per week, by hand-watering only, between 5 pm and 9 am. 
  3. Even numbered street addresses can water on Tuesday & Thursday. 
  4. Odd numbered street addresses can water on Wednesday and Friday. 
  5. Watering vegetable gardens, and the Community Garden. 
  6. Watering mitigation plantings approved by the Conservation Commission. 
  7. Power washing of boat bottoms and flushing of engines and washing of gear. 
  8. Use at Town Landings and Fish Pier. 
  9. Use by the Fire Department for training and equipment maintenance.

We remind users that established vegetation needs no more than 1” of water per week, either from precipitation or watering. We also recommend that new plantings of shrubs, trees, or lawns be delayed if possible as these plantings require more water. 

Municipal water users are also reminded of the following from the Water Rules & Regulations:

  • “As of April 1, 2018, the Chatham Water Department shall not allow the initial filling, or subsequent draining and re-filling, of swimming pools from the municipal water system.” (Article VII 19.) 
  • “No new irrigation systems shall be connected to the municipal water supply as of January 1, 2021.” (Article VI 2.) 
  • “Existing irrigation systems not already on a separate water meter shall be retrofitted, at the customers expense, with a separate water meter no later than January 1, 2022.” (Article VI 5.a.)

The Town continues to experience reduced water supply capacity due to two municipal wells being off-line because of PFAS contamination. While Well #4 has been brought back online after extended closure to help offset the closure of Wells 5 & 8, the Town is asking users of municipal water to limit outdoor water use whenever possible. Temporary treatment for PFAS for Wells 5 & 8 is expected to be online before this summer. Water entering the Town’s supply is safe to drink.

Violations of this mandatory outdoor watering ban will result in the following:

  • First offense – Warning 
  • Second offense - $100 fine 
  • Third offense - $200 fine

Good quality and enough fresh drinking water are vital to the health of our community. While the ban applies only to those on the public water supply, private well owners are asked to take these measures into consideration as we all draw from the same aquifer. 

The Select Board will re-visit the ban in June.

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