Drought map both colorful and scary
Atkins Reservoir on September 21, the day it went off line
The DPW gave a presentation to the Water Supply Protection Committee on Thursday morning with the same slides they use for the UMass, Hampshire and Amherst College officials weekly update and the news was mostly good. Mostly.
Wells have safety margin of 1.2 mgd, so as long as Well 3 or 4 does not go down ...
As long as you're not a pessimist and fear a major fire, water main break or pump failure at one of the major wells.
Only broke the 3.5 mgd once
The main thing is water restrictions are working and by keeping consumption to under 3.5 million gallons per day the town can handle the load using only wells. Which is a good thing since the only things we have at the moment and for at last another month to six weeks are the wells.
Atkins Reservoir closed with water levels down 9' 7" just shy of the record ten feet in 1982 but that year it closed a few weeks later so if not taken off line September 21 would probably exceed the 10 foot mark by October.
The main factor needed to disrupt the drought is rain. Lots of it.
The Committee talked briefly about tapping into the Quabbin but town engineer Jason Skeels pointed out what a nightmare it would be to run pipes through the underground ledges in Pelham. And the other option -- opening yet another well -- is also an expensive proposition.
And either of those options would take forever to implement. The better course is to continue paying strict attention to water conservation, and pray for rain.
Quabbin Reservor 9/24 at 85% full