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Waiting on the Rain: Worcester Residents and Clarkies on the Water Ban

Effective September 8th the city of Worcester entered a Stage 3 Drought Emergency and placed mandatory restrictions on residents, as Worcester’s own water supply, the city reservoir, dipped to a low capacity of just 50%. City Commissioner, Paul Moosey, issued the notice through the Department of Public works and Water Emergency management plan.

The town of Worcester was previously in a Stage 2 droughts as of July 22nd, issued with the goal of reducing water consumption across the city by 10 to 15 percent, according to masslive.com. Under a new Stage 3 ban more restrictions are in place for all water users, which now includes businesses and city departments.

“The city has made it decently easy for us to respond to the drought,” said Worcester resident, Ming-Hui Tseng. “Everything is on the website and most restrictions for waste are just gardening things which many residents don’t do any way.” Many Worcester residents echo Tseng’s sentiments, including Amy Johnson, who said “I’m from out of state and am used to a water ban all the time, frankly I think it’s good for the city to be placing more regulations with or without a drought, especially on local businesses.”


One regulation under Stage 2 is the discontinuation of outdoor watering systems, a regulation that several residents don’t see being followed. “My neighbors own a daycare and they are still watering their lawn with their sprinkler system, even though I think landscaping projects were one of the things people needed to stop,” said Liz Joyal of Worcester, MA.

Another ban is on the unnecessary washing of vehicles unless it’s for sanitation. David Carney was struggling with this regulation in particular saying “the only way I’ve been impacted is having to drive a dirty car around when I make house visits!” Carney works as an on-site mediator for families and has difficulty feeling professional driving a dirty car to people’s homes. Carney also recognizes the importance of water conservation, observing, “overall though it’s for the best, and the city has to do what they have to do.”

Anne Jenkins, owner of Annie’s Clark Brunch located in Worcester near Clark University, said it’s hard as a business to maintain the ban. “I’m lucky that it’s mostly outside sort of things and doesn’t impact me too much” she said. “I tell everyone, entering through the door means ya asked for water,” Jenkins reported with a laugh.

Feelings around Clark University about the drought reflect those of Worcester residents: it isn’t a big impact. The Scarlet, Clark’s student newspaper, published an article September 24th about the ban, reporting, “the drought has had a few effects on Clark’s student-body.” Even though “all water users” were prohibited to participate in Water Waste students weren’t notified of the ban by the university.”

The Scarlet also informed readers that “Clark would have to apply for special permission if it wishes to continue using a sprinkler system on the Green.” The sprinklers have been in use, though according to Savannah Dube, author of the article, “Lack of Water in Worcester.”

Anne Jenkins also noticed that the regulations weren’t being kept by many local Universities either. “I mean look over at Clark University, a week or so back they were watering all their gardens, even during the rain, which they seem to do all the time, and they are just wasting water left and right, that’s how the most water is being wasted.”    

Physical plant was reached out to for a comment, their manger was not in but reception, Lea Ann O’Neill, stated “Well I don’t know what they are doing differently due to the ban…  I live in Worcester and don’t know much about it, but I hope they are regulating water consumption and keeping up with the restrictions but I don’t know they haven’t said anything.”  Glen Harzewiski is the director of grounds and is the man in charge of water use by the university; he was unavailable for comment.

Jess is a Senior at Clark University who hails from Detroit, Michigan. She spends her time at college studying Psychology and Culture Studies & Communication, and trying to get involved in everything she can on campus! Jess wears a number of hat's around campus such as, President of the Student Activities Board, Co-President of Radio of Clark University, an intern for the Student Leadership and Programming Office, waitress at Annies Clark Brunch, and the Events Director for Clark's chapter of Her Campus! In her spare time Jess enjoys listening to music, reading, exploring Worcester, and spending time with friends!
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