The Londonderry Town Council and Fire Chief Darren O’Brien have issued a plea to residents to be careful about water use in light of a continuing drought.
Chairman John Farrell addressed the issue at Monday night’s Town Council meeting, with input from O’Brien and Town Manager Kevin Smith.
After a moment of silence for those who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, Farrell said that 80 percent of Londonderry homes are on well water. Homes in the north part of town receive water from Manchester Water Works and homes in the south, from Pennichuck.
According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES), a “restriction” means that outdoor water use is permitted, but restricted. For example, lawn watering may be limited to twice a week. An “outdoor use” ban means that outdoor water use is not permitted except for a small number of conditions.
The following areas of Londonderry are under restriction:
Pennichuck East Utility Company, Avery Estates and Hickory Woods, Harvest Village, Ministerial Hills, Pinehaven and R &B.
Ponderosa Mobile Home Park is under an outdoor use ban, and Century Village II is under “voluntary restriction.”
Rockingham County is in a state of “extreme drought,” according to a drought map released Sept. 8 by DES.
O’Brien warned residents to be extremely careful with outdoor burning. This past week, his crews spent two days battling a brush fire on Morrison Drive. The fire went underground, he said, and it took personnel from seven towns to finally extinguish it. The area is a temporary home to the transient population and also a place where “kids hang out,” he said. “There are a lot of homemade fire pits.”
This particular fire was in the middle of the woods, and they had to cut a road to get into it, he said. Fortunately, he said, the Federal government will partially reimburse them for the losses, which include a couple of hoses and damage to vehicles.
O’Brien urged residents to keep an eye on conditions and check with the Fire Department for that day’s burning conditions. “We will advise you,” he said. If it’s a day that burning is allowed, residents should have some kind of extinguisher handy, he said.
Councilor Tom Dolan asked about the use of fireworks, and O’Brien said, “Right now it is risky and dangerous. The rain has been minimal, the woods are dry. Even homeowners following every safety precaution “don’t know where that projectile will end up,” he said.
Farrell urged residents to conserve water where they can, so there will be enough water to fight fires.