Dover Water Resources Information
Dover's Water Supply
Ensuring ongoing appropriate conservation measures is important to Dover’s long-term sustainability as the Town has limited infrastructure to provide water and wastewater services that residents depend on. Nearly seventy percent (70%) of residential dwellings in Dover are served by private wells. Almost thirty percent (30%) of the remaining dwellings are served by the Colonial Water Company. The Town of Dover owns a limited amount of water infrastructure, which Colonial Water Company uses for distribution to serve approximately 70 additional users. There is a limited number of properties whose water is supplied by the Towns of Natick or Walpole.
Dover's Public Water Supplier
Colonial Water Company (Colonial) is a public water supplier who services approximately one third of Dover residences. As a public water supplier Colonial is regulated by two State agencies: Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for water quality and Department of Public Utilities for rates.
If you are a customer of Colonial you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (877) 504-2904
Response to Drought Conditions Impacting Water Supply
The Water Resources Committee was formed in 2016 in response to drought and water quality issues. Ongoing issues with failing wells, shrinking groundwater supplies, and a growing need to dig deeper wells prompted concern regarding the sustainability of Dover's groundwater resources. The committee worked to obtain $150,000 in funding through a Town Meeting appropriation to hire a consultant to drill groundwater monitoring wells in order to collect local data on Dover's groundwater supply.
The resulting Hydrology Study by Kleinfelder Company was issued in March 2020, and resulted in recommendations regarding groundwater conservation. The next phase of the Study is anticipated to get underway this Summer 2021.
Current Water Resources Protection Activities
Building on the work performed by the Water Resources Committee, the Board of Selectmen and Town Staff are working to implement key recommendations for the Town's FY22 goals and objectives and FY22 planning goals related to Groundwater Protection and Resource Management.
Current Implementation Actions:
In FY22 the town will focus on completing the following actions:
- Implementation of the Second Phase of the Kleinfelder Water Quantity Study (Hydrology Study) and continue data collection at monitoring wells.
- Investigation and potential implementation of Water Conservation Regulations and an Irrigation System Registration.
- Obtain consulting services to assist and guide the Town of Dover in understanding all of its short and long-term options to ensure the reliability and predictability in the delivery of high quality groundwater resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Town doing to regulate water consumption during periods of drought?
The Town is currently working to draft regulations, as authorized by M.G.L. CH. 21 Section 67, to regulate irrigation systems (which account for half of all household water use during summer months) and mandate the installation of timers, flow monitors, and moisture sensors to reduce unnecessary watering, as well as a Water Restriction Bylaw for consideration at Town Meeting in 2022.
How are droughts determined?
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (MEOEEA) and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) oversee the statewide Drought Management Task Force. During the summer months, the Task Force meets frequently to monitor groundwater levels and assess the need for water consumption restrictions. In order to provide local data, the Town has installed monitoring wells to assist with formation and application of local and state groundwater protection policy.
What should I do if there is a drought declared?
Limit outdoor water use: Check the Drought Status on the Town's website or facebook page to determine if any watering restrictions are in place and follow accordingly. Install drought resistant native plantings, plant lawns and landscaping in the Spring or Fall when precipitation is highest, and install compliant irrigation monitoring systems. Installation of rain collection and retention devices such as rain barrels or bioswales can help recycle water for irrigation purposes.
Limit indoor water use: Installing energy saver and low-flow fixtures (toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, shower heads, etc.), maintain plumbing in good working condition and monitor for leaks, and only running water consuming appliances when they are full can help reduce indoor consumption. Behavioral changes such as taking shorter showers can also help.
Do I need to conserve water even if we have received a lot of precipitation?
Yes. It is a long process for surface water to become the groundwater we use for household water consumption. Dover's groundwater comes from two aquifers which must be recharged in order to sustain the community's needs. When it rains or snows, most precipitation seeps into the soil and is absorbed by plants and evaporates or runs off and becomes surface water in rivers and streams. Recharge occurs when groundwater filters through layers of soil and rock into the aquifer -- for some aquifers, this process can take years.
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