In 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) delivered a report to the Longmeadow DPW summarizing the findings of the DEP's regular analysis of the Longmeadow Water Department’s public water system, and an associated plan for compliance with DEP's target goals.
A key finding of MassDEP 2021 Longmeadow analysis is that Longmeadow’s residential per capita water use, reported in gallons/person/day (G/P/D), has exceeded MassDEP’s water conservation goal of 65 G/P/D. In fact, Longmeadow’s per capita residential water use was the second-highest in all of Massachusetts in 2020, following Town of Weston at 139 G/P/D. During the three years preceding the report, Longmeadow’s residential G/P/D had been reported at 120 G/P/D (2020), 92 G/P/D (2019), and 94 G/P/D (2018). As a component of Longmeadow’s per capita water use reduction plan, MassDEP calls for the Town to commit to establishing a water conservation bylaw requiring weather-responsive controls on automated lawn irrigation systems.
This strategy was identified by analysis of Longmeadow's residential water bills. Water use increases heavily during irrigating months; in non-irrigating months, Longmeadow's G/P/D was more closely aligned with the state average. Therefore, any controls placed on extraneous irrigation (irrigation when it is not needed for the health of the lawn, such as during wet weather) is likely to improve Longmeadow's G/P/D water use.
By adopting this Outdoor Water Use Bylaw, Longmeadow will join the ranks of many other municipalities across the state that have already adopted similar bylaws/ordinances. These communities include, but are not limited to, the Towns of Shrewsbury, Spencer, Concord, Franklin, Lincoln, and Acton.