Get on the Team

While the State of New Hampshire is strongly advising towns to consider water conservation directives, most local communities are relying instead on mere suggestions for reduced water use.

That may be a heavy dose of wishful thinking, even with the recent rain, unless Hurricane Matthew decides to pause over us, but even those suggestions are being questioned by some residents and officials.

We know that a new lawn needs water – why a new lawn was put in during a drought, which has been going on for a while, is a whole other question – or it could be lost. But a dry well is a bigger, and more significant, loss.

Meanwhile, residents and businesses and public buildings with automatic watering systems should be switching over to manual, especially at this time of year. A drive around town during a rainstorm is more often than not likely to include addresses where people are watering in the rain.

And it’s not hard to tell who is paying attention and who is putting the burden on the other guy – just look at their lawns.

Regardless of your views on global warming, we’re in what is defined officially as a “severe drought.” That should be warning enough. No one wants their well to run dry, no one wants to have to rely on the National Guard for drinking water or the neighboring school for showers.

But it requires everyone to take responsibility for doing their part in conserving water. It’s not some vague environmental initiative or a dictate of what people like to call the “nanny state” – it’s happening right here at home. Drive around and notice how low the rivers are. Check out the ponds – or the places where ponds once stood. Listen to the farmers talk about reduced crops or smaller size fruits and vegetables.

We may not want to, but we need to start considering ourselves as part of a broader community, one in which water exists in a finite amount, and the lack of consistent rain means our water source is not what it once was.

The State is telling us drought conditions may continue until spring’s snow melt, and that will depend on how much snow we get this winter. Meanwhile, groundwater and streamflow levels are at historic lows.

This area is known for its sports enthusiasts, so let’s resolve to be team players. Cut down on non-essential water use, by turning off faucets while brushing teeth or washing dishes, washing full loads of clothes and full loads of dishes, and fixing leaks and running toilets. And stop watering your lawn.

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