Dover has implemented a mandatory ban on outdoor water use effective immediately as most of the Seacoast region is considered to be in a severe drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor's latest report issued Thursday has most of Strafford and York Counties and all of Rockingham County under a severe drought. Essex County is in an extreme drought. The city of Dover's hydrogeologists said 11 inches less precipitation has fallen this year.

City Manager J. Michael Joyal signed an emergency order Monday which took effect immediately. Most Seacoast region communities have heeded the recommendation of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to implement similar restrictions.

"At this time, we cannot predict how long the outdoor water ban will remain, but it is likely to extend into the early fall when we should see more regular beneficial precipitation," Joyal said in a statement.

Under the emergency order, the following outdoor water use restrictions are in place:

  • No outside lawn watering or irrigation, including automatic sprinklers, automatic irrigation; systems, and no unattended lawn watering
  • No washing of vehicles, including automobiles, trailers, and trucks
  • No filling of swimming pools of 100 gallons or greater.

Hand watering of gardens and new plantings is allowed. Commercial car washes, agriculture operations, flower shops, and garden centers are not affected by the restrictions at this time.

First-time violators will get a warning followed by fines of $250 per violation.

U.S. Drought Monitor map issued 8/18/22
U.S. Drought Monitor map issued 8/18/22 (NOAA)

The National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said that Monday's rain will not put an end to the drought. The slow-moving cold front will bring scattered heavy thunderstorms with the heaviest rain along the coast.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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