With the U.S. Drought Monitor considering Strafford County to be in a moderate drought, Dover officials have implemented mandatory water use restrictions effective immediately.

City Manager J. Michael Joyal put the order into effect via an emergency order to "ensure a sustainable drinking water supply throughout the summer," according to a statement.

  • Outdoor lawn watering, the washing of cars, SUVs, trailers and trucks, and the filling of swimming pools of more than 100 gallons of water are all prohibited.
  • Commercial car washes, agriculture operations, flower shops and garden centers are not affected by the restrictions.

Violations of the order will be enforced by public outreach followed by warnings to those in violation, and fines of up to $250 per violation.

The city is also encouraging small changes in water use around the house like cutting back on shower times, only doing full loads of laundry when necessary, and turning off the faucet while brushing teeth, doing dishes and washing hands.

"The restrictions will likely remain in place until we see significant rainfall and the aquifers relied upon for the city’s drinking water supply have been replenished," Joyal said.

Friday's forecast calls for over an inch of rain to fall on the Seacoast through Saturday which will help make a dent in the rain deficit.

While Rockingham County is still considered to be "abnormally dry" mandatory outside water use restrictions were put into place by Aquarion for North Hampton and Rye.

Thunderstorms like the ones on Wednesday with a deluge of rainfall will not do much to help as it will mostly just run off and doesn't have time to soak into the ground, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Hunter Tubbs.

"It can help with the near-surface conditions temporarily but it's not going to get far below the surface," Tubbs said.

Instead, 6-12 hours of steady light to moderate rain is what's needed to make a dent in the water deficit of nearly six inches in some areas over the past six months and 15-20 inches below average going back one year.


U.S. Drought Monitoring map
U.S. Drought Monitoring map (National Drought Mitigation Center)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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