Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Thursday, July 8, 2010


To meet the WATER MANAGEMENT ACT PERMIT # 9P2-2-09-287 01 ( Quinebaug River Basin) issued by MA DEP, the Sturbridge Water Department has been required by MassDEP to enter into a MANDATORY WATER BAN when the Quinebaug river flow rate at the USGS Quinebaug River Gauge Station near Southbridge #01123600 falls below 47.2 cubic feet per second (cfs) for three consecutive days.  Historically this has been mid-August to mid-September.  When and if the flow rate falls below the trigger condition, the following water use restrictions will be in effect and will be enforced to comply with the town's Water Management Act permit issued by MassDEP.  Once implemented, the restrictions shall remain in place until stream flow at the gauge meets or exceeds 47.2 cfs for seven (7) consecutive days.  You can view this flow rate and historical data online at  The Water Department will set up signs on Rt. 20, Rt. 131 and major entrances into town when the water ban is in effect to notify town residents.
  1. These rules apply from July 5, 2010 until further notice.
  1. Non-essential outside water use is not allowed, except that sprinklers may be used for lawn watering outside of the hours of 9 AM to 5 PM one (1) day a week.  Non-essential water use is defined as water use that is not required: A. for health or safety reasons, B. by regulation, C. for production of food and fiber, D. for the maintenance of livestock, or E. to meet core functions of a business. Examples of non-essential use are irrigation of lawns, washing of exterior buildings surfaces, parking lots, driveways or sidewalks unless it is to apply paint, preservatives, stucco, pavement or cement. Acceptable outside examples are irrigation to establish a new lawn during the months of May and September, irrigation for production of food and fiber or the maintenance of livestock, irrigation by plant nurseries as necessary to maintain stock. The irrigation of public parks and recreational fields shall follow the same restrictions.

Lawn sprinklers are very popular, and many people have installed underground automatic systems.  While this can be positive, it can also create serious problems if not installed properly.  Any landscaping company will tell you that the best time to water your lawn is in the early morning or during the evening.  Watering your lawn during the day wastes water due to the evaporation that occurs.  Some experts say that as much as 50% of the water will evaporate before it soaks into the ground on a hot sunny day.    Please cooperate with these rules.

Violators will be subject to the following:
1st offense:   written warning with a list of rules on the warning
2nd offense:  50.00 dollar fine
3rd offense:  250.00 dollar fine
4th offense:  750.00 dollar fine
Subsequent offenses:  750.00 dollar fine for each offense and possible court action

Water conservation is an important way to protect our drinking water by ensuring that we don’t diminish our resource.  As much as 97% of the world’s water is saltwater, leaving 3% freshwater, two-thirds of which is stored as icecaps or glaciers.  This leaves us 1% of the world’s water for drinking.  Needless to say, water conservation will help us sustain our precious 1%.  

Here are a few ways to help out:  Water your lawn only when it needs it. Step on your grass. If it springs back, when you lift your foot, it doesn't need water.  Saves 750-1,500 gallons per month.  Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Saves three gallons each day.  Set lawn mower blades one notch higher. Longer grass means less evaporation. Saves 500 to 1,500 gallons each month.  Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Saves 750 to 1500 gallons per month.

Questions call 508-347-2513.



  1. Does this watering ban apply to everyone, or just people who are on town water?

  2. The water ban is only for those that use town water. If you have well water it is entirely up to you on how you conserve.


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