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Conservation and Efficiency
Water Conservation News and Notes
In 2006, water use was down approximately 5 percent over 2005.  That’s to be expected, since the summer of 2006 started off wetter and cooler than normal.  In fact, Concord received over 12 inches of rain during June and July.

As we enter the “peak” water season of 2007, we again remind our customers to use water efficiently. All six groundwater supply wells and Nagog Pond are often required to operate at maximum levels during the summer. When this occurs, there is more wear and tear on town pumps, water quality is subjected to greater variation and production costs are increased. And besides, it makes little sense to pump water (a finite resource) from the ground, treat it to enhance it’s quality so it’s safe to drink, send it through miles of pipeline, only to waste it.

Being “water-efficient” means using less water to provide the same benefit. There are many ways to enhance your water efficiency – detecting and fixing leaks, installing high-efficiency clothes washers and toilets, and watering lawns and gardens with the minimum amount of water needed. This year, thanks to a grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, we are able to offer numerous opportunities to cut your water use: toilet replacement rebates, water-use audits, educational workshops, irrigation system audits and more.

You are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities to conserve water and reduce water bills. Contact Environmental and Regulatory Coordinator, Melissa Simoncini, at 978-318-3250 for further information.

State regulators seek to cap water consumption -  click here to learn more

Click on the Links Below for More Important Information:


Improve Your Irrigation IQ

We understand that many residents find automatic irrigation systems attractive and convenient. You don’t need to remember to turn in on and shut it off, you don’t need to drag hoses across the lawn, and it will operate when you’re on vacation. CPW wants to make sure your irrigation water is used as efficiently as possible. Consider the following:

   • Households with irrigation systems use a lot of water. Last year, the average household with an irrigation system used 77% more water than the townwide average. In some cases, these households use four to five times more water than those without irrigation systems.
   • Every year we receive abatement requests from residents who discover costly leaks in their irrigation systems
   • Every summer we receive phone calls from residents who are shocked when they receive a $700 water bill after installing an irrigation system.
   • In 2005 the top 10% of highest water-using households used 27% of all water billed to 4,500+ homes.

Average Caily Water Use 2005
Install a rain sensor on your irrigation system - Why pay good money watering your lawn when it’s raining? If you have a rain sensor, make sure it’s located in an area accessible to rain and not obstructed by trees, shrubs, or parts of your house. The In-Ground Irrigation System Bylaw requires the installation of rain sensors and that they are operating properly.

Learn about the tuna can plan – A simple way to calculate how much water your sprinkler is applying to your lawn. Place four to six tuna or cat food cans around your lawn (or more if you have a larger property) and run the sprinkler for 15 minutes. Measure the depth of water in each can and calculate the average depth. Then, figure out how long each week to run your sprinkler to apply one inch of water. Healthy lawns typically need one inch of water a week, including rain.

Limit lawn watering to once or twice a week - Infrequent, deep watering, promotes deep roots that will allow the plant to survive on less water. Frequent lawn watering often encourages shallow roots that could make the lawn more susceptible to pests and disease

Seasonal Rates Start May 1

Concord’s Water Conservation Rate is in effect each year between May 1 and October 31 for residential customers. Water customers using more than 2,400 cubic feet of water bimonthly (more than 300 gallons daily) pay higher rates for their extra consumption, reflecting the higher cost of meeting peak water demand. Below are proposed rates, effective June 1, subject to Public Works Commission approval. One hundred cubic feet = 748 gallons.

        Base Rate: $3.61 per 100 cubic feet (ccf) bimonthly.
        Step 2: $6.71 per ccf for 2,500 – 4,800 cubic feet bimonthly May 1 through October 31.
        Step 3: $8.83 per ccf over 4,800 cubic feet bimonthly May 1 through October 31

 High Water Bills Get You Down?
Ten Easy Ways to Save Water this Summer

1.      Watch the weather - Watering habits should change with the weather.  If the weather is cool, humid or rainy you should decrease watering time and/or skip scheduled watering. Make sure you adjust your irrigation system with the changing weather.
2.       Let nature take its course –  The cool-season grasses in Concord lawns naturally go dormant in the heat of summer. When cooler temperatures arrive they will green up again. If you spend the month of August away at your summer home, why pay high water bills to artificially keep a lawn green that you’re not around to enjoy?
3.       Consider drip irrigation or soaker hoses –  Because they apply water directly onto the ground drip irrigation is much more efficient than traditional sprinklers, particularly in flower and shrub beds. Evaporation is greatly reduced and the water is applied right where the plant needs it.
4.       Wash your car on your lawn – Water is absorbed into your lawn instead of running down your driveway into the nearest catch basin.
5.      Check your toilets for leaks – Put a little food coloring in the toilet tank and wait 10 to 15 minutes. If the color appears in the bowl, you have a leak that should be repaired. It is estimated that 25 percent of all toilets leak
6.       Cover your pool – The average outdoor pool loses an inch of water a week in the heat of the summer.
7.       Go native – Native plants have evolved over time to thrive in Concord’s climate. Once established, they require little or no supplemental water and are practically maintenance-free. Visit the New England Wildflower Society’s website for more information at
8.       Check for and repair leaks – Irrigation systems often wear down over time and damaged by low winter temperatures. Overly green or soggy areas may indicate sources of leaks. If your system is maintained by a contractor, make sure they replace broken or malfunctioning heads and valves.
9.      Get swept away – Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks.
10.      Mulch it – Applying mulch around plants keeps the soil underneath cool and moist, reducing watering needs.
“Water-Smart” Landscape Plans

Thanks to grants from The Garden Club of Concord and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, four landscape templates have been developed by local landscape designers that, once established, are easy to maintain and require little or no supplemental water.

 Garden for Hot Spots, designed by Dori Smith of Gardens for Life. This design was created for full-sun properties using drought and salt-tolerant trees and shrubs. Full of color, this landscape will also attract birds and butterflies.

 Wildlife Attracting Landscape, designed by Sue Spicer of Sue Spicer Landscape Design. By providing food, water and shelter, this design creates a natural habitat setting for local and migrating animals with native trees, shrubs and ground covers

 Woodland Garden, designed by Lina Formichelli of Pumpkin Brook Organic Gardening. This design is perfect for homeowners with properties bordering on wooded areas. Utilizing shade-loving plants, this garden provides year-round color and interest.

 Rain-Catching Garden, designed by Angela Kearney of Minglewood Design. This design features a garden of flowering plants, shrubs and groundcovers that retains rainwater and allows it to seep back into the ground, recharging ground water supplies, instead of running off into storm drains.

(Click here for templates) or stop by our office at 135 Keyes Road.

“Water-Smart” Demonstration Gardens

Seeing is believing. Last year a small garden was planted in the front yard at Emerson Umbrella, 40 Stow Street, that showcases plants that are drought-tolerant and easy to maintain. There are a variety of ground covers, shrubs, flowers, and grasses on display to give property owners ideas on lawn alternatives. The garden is funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Also, a hot, sunny strip in the parking lot of 135 Keyes Road was planted with drought-tolerant perennials by CPW’s Grounds Crew. Come visit and watch the garden bloom throughout the season.

Free Water Conservation Devices

Concord Public Works wants to help you conserve water. Stop by our office at 135 Keyes Road weekdays 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. or call Joanne Bissetta, Water Conservation Coordinator, at 978-318-3259.

Rain Gauge – Keep track of rainfall to avoid over-watering your lawn.

Leak Detection Kit – A simple test to determine if you have a leaky toilet.

Bathroom Flip Aerator – Temporarily halt the flow of water with a flip of the switch without readjusting temperature controls. Great for shaving and brushing teeth.

Dual Setting Flip Aerator with Swivel for the Kitchen – A swiveling aerator that has a full flow for filling pots, a wide spray for rinsing fruits and vegetables, and a flow restrictor for use when washing dishes.  

EPA Guidebook on Water-Efficient Landscaping – Easy-to-read instructions on how to create eye-catching gardens that save water, prevent pollution and protect the environment. Get our photocopy or print out your own. Visit

Low-flow Showerhead – An attractive, high-quality showerhead that uses 2.0 gallons per minute that doesn’t feel “low-flow.” Cut your shower water use in half.

Shower Timer – Helps you keep your showers to five minutes.

Presentations to Local Groups – Concord Public Works staff is available to come to your organization to talk about water conservation. Give us a call!

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