Massachusetts Drought Status for past week or more has been Level 3

Illegal Water Use Could Lead to Water Shut Off and Monetary Penalties in Gardner MA

According to Chapter 636 of the City of Gardner Code, adopted by the Gardner City Council on 9-7-1999, the City of Gardner has authority to regulate water use upon a declaration of a water supply emergency issued by the Department of Environmental Protection.  “This chapter is adopted by the City under its police powers to protect public health and welfare.” Public notice must be given before it can be enforced which has been done through the City’s website and various signage throughout the City.  It has also been given through various media outlets.  Currently all non-essential outdoor water use and outdoor watering is prohibited due to the Level 3 Drought Declaration by the State of MA.

Essential Uses

From the state of MA, “Essential uses are defined by MassDEP as uses required: a) for health or safety reasons; b) by regulation; c) for the production of food and fiber; d) for the maintenance of livestock; or e) to meet the core functions of a business.  Nonessential uses are those other than essential uses.”

Penalties To Be Imposed

Penalties specified include $50 for first violation and $100 for each subsequent violation, each day constituting a separate offense.   “The Director of Public Works may terminate or restrict the water service serving the property of any person constantly violating this chapter until such time as the state of water supply conservation is terminated.”

Reports on Social Media

Various reports on Social Media over the past week seem to indicate that there are isolated instances of businesses and/or people violating the ordinance. We have reached out to the Mayor’s office for comment and will post Mayor Nicholson’s comments if/when we have some.