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Posted on: May 5, 2020

COVID-19 Water Rate Relief, Voluntary Restrictions Requested to Protect Supply

Water Rate Relief to Ipswich Residential Water Customers

Customers Asked to Follow Restrictions to Protect Water Supply


Due to financial hardships associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Select Board, acting as Water Commissioners, have taken measures to offer rate relief to the residential class of water customers. On April 21st the Commissioners voted to delay the residential seasonal rate for a period of two months. Effective May 1st – June 30th all customers (residential, commercial and municipal) will be charged the base rate of $11.25 per 100 cubic feet of water. The residential seasonal rate will not go to $16.88 per 100 cubic feet of water per normal practice.  Prior to June 30th, the Commissioners will reassess conditions to determine if the residential seasonal rate or some other rate will become effective on July 1st.

A plentiful, high-quality public water supply is essential to public health in our community’s fight against this pandemic. While this rate relief will provide some support to those facing financial hardships, the Commissioners recognize that, without the higher seasonal water rate, residential consumptions may rise and limit the availability of water. In order to ensure the Water Department’s continued reliable service throughout the summer, the Water Commissioners are requesting all customers voluntarily follow the restrictions normally imposed during times of extreme stress on the water supply.  Those restrictions, taken from the Ipswich Drought Management Plan, are listed below. 

During declared Water Restrictions the following practices shall be prohibited:

  1. irrigation of lawns via any system other than hand held hose or bucket;
  2. washing of vehicles, except to meet core function of a business as described in (e) above;
  3. washing of exterior building surfaces, parking lots, driveways or sidewalks, except as necessary to apply paint, preservatives, stucco, pavement or cement; and
  4. filling or refilling of swimming pools.

During declared Water Restrictions, the following practices shall be permitted:

  1. irrigation of public parks and recreation fields between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.;
  2. irrigation of lawns, gardens, flowers and ornamental plants by means of hand-held hose between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Outdoor water uses not subject to restrictions or bans are those required:

  1. for health or safety reasons;
  2. by regulation;
  3. for the production of food and fiber;
  4. for the maintenance of livestock; or
  5. to meet the core functions of a business (for example, irrigation by golf courses as necessary to maintain tees and greens, or irrigation by plant nurseries or agricultural operations as necessary to maintain stock or establish new plantings, wash equipment to prevent damage and/or maintain performance, pest management and plant cooling).

Everyone is urged to voluntarily comply with these restrictions and limit all non-essential water use. With the full cooperation of the community we can possibly avoid making these restrictions mandatory. However, if voluntary restrictions are not effective and rainfall becomes insufficient to maintain our water supply, mandatory restrictions or a full water ban prohibiting all outside water use will be imposed.


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