Worcester cautious as rain turns corner on drought – Worcester Telegram

The recharge has been substantial enough to enable the city to stop buying water from the MWRA as of Dec. 2, resulting in savings of approximately $55,000 per day, Mr. Guerin reported.

The city’s reservoir capacity is at 56 percent as of Jan. 1. This is up from December’s capacity of 52 percent and from the 47 percent capacity #8211; the lowest capacity recorded all year #8211; in mid-November, according to Mr. Guerin

Nevertheless, above-average rainfall (including most notably the 4.1-inches of rain recorded Oct. 21), supplementary water from the MWRA, and conservation among city residents has given reservoirs a chance to recharge.

Meanwhile, average water use in the city in December dropped to 19.8 million gallons per day from an average of 21 million gallons per day in December 2015, meaning residents are doing their part to conserve, Mr. Guerin said.

“Let’s say we’re cautiously optimistic,” said Philip D. Guerin, director of water and sewer operations for Worcester. “We have been for the most part gaining capacity since the middle of November, but it has been a slow process … we are finally gaining, but we are still well below average.”

But Mr. Guerin cautioned that the city “is not necessarily out of the woods.” A cold and dry remainder to the winter could limit or reverse the recharge of the reservoirs, he said. Mr. Guerin said he is monitoring the drought situation and will prepare a report to the City Council in the middle of this month concerning future steps.

As for the regional outlook, scientists with the U.S. Drought Monitor upgraded an east-to-west, hourglass-shaped swath of central and northeastern Worcester County from extreme to severe drought status Thursday. This means no part of Worcester County remains in extreme drought conditions. The area of southern Worcester County in moderate drought conditions remained the same, according to the map. The associated drought monitor report cited low temperatures limiting evaporation and above-average precipitation in October and November.

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