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Burlington Eases Water Use Restrictions

Burlington Select Board Monday approved water conservation measures effective April 1 that restrict residential lawn sprinkler use between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The changes represent an easing of previous, stricter rules as Burlington’s water supplies replenish and as the town’s connection to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) continues apace. 

Under the new rules, residents may use automated or sprinkler watering every other day based on the address of the residential or commercial property (even numbers on even days and odd numbers on odd days) only before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. 

New lawns may apply for permission from the Department of Public Works to water their lawns any day before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. in April, May, September and October

Residents can water gardens, flowers or ornamental plantings with a hand-held hose at any time of day. 

Any person violating the water restriction could be issued a warning for the first violation, a $50 fine for the second violation, and $100 fine for each subsequent violation. 

Restrictions on outdoor watering are familiar to Burlington residents; similar rules have been in place in previous years. Burlington joined the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority in 2020 in part to reduce the need for strict outdoor watering restrictions in the future. But Burlington Department of Public Works Director Brian White said he expects some restrictions to be in effect every year even once the MRWA connection is complete, since a requirement of Burlington’s joining the MWRA was to continue efforts to conserve water. 

“In the landscaping industry, it’s widely accepted that you should be watering on a more infrequent basis and at a higher volume, so even/odd seems to be a good compromise,” he said. 

“I think it’s a good thing that we cut back on water,” said Select Board Chair Nick Priest, who supported the measure. “Water is a finite resource, and the last couple years of heavy drought have shown how quickly our supply can disappear.”