Drought Conditions and Water Conservation


Current Drought Status: Level 1 - Moderate Drought [view alert]
Last updated: 07/17/20 1521 hours

What is a drought? 

A drought occurs when a region experiences below-average precipitation over an extended period of time, resulting in low stream flows and low surface water and groundwater levels.

Drought classification occurs in levels. To learn more about these levels, please visit the United States Drought Monitor page. The following is a brief overview of the different levels. 

Level 1 - Moderate Drought 

  • (Voluntary) The public is requested to voluntarily refrain from lawn and landscape watering and to limit the amount of water used outdoors for other purposes.
  • (Mandatory) Lawn and landscape watering shall not occur between the hours of 8AM and 7PM. 

Level 2 - Severe Drought

  • (Mandatory) Lawn and landscape watering; washing of motorized vehicles and boats; and washing of driveways, sidewalks, or other impervious areas by odd numbered addresses is allowed on odd numbered days of the month.
  • (Mandatory) Lawn and landscape watering; washing of motorized vehicles and boats; and washing of driveways, sidewalks, or other impervious areas by even numbered addresses is allowed on even numbered days of the month.
  • (Mandatory) Lawn and landscape watering shall not occur between the hours of 8AM and 7PM.

Level 3 - Extreme Drought

  • (Mandatory) Lawn and landscape watering; washing of motorized vehicles and boats; and washing of driveways, sidewalks, or other impervious areas by odd numbered addresses is allowed on Mondays and Thursdays only.
  • (Mandatory) Lawn and landscape watering; washing of motorized vehicles and boats; and washing of driveways, sidewalks, or other impervious areas by even numbered addresses is allowed on Tuesdays and Fridays only.
  • (Mandatory) The use of automated lawn and landscape sprinkler systems is prohibited.
  • (Mandatory) The filling of swimming pools is prohibited.

Level 4 - Exceptional Drought

  • (Mandatory) Lawn and landscape watering is prohibited.
  • (Mandatory) Washing of motorized vehicles and boats is prohibited.
  • (Mandatory) Washing of streets, driveways, sidewalks or other impervious areas is prohibited.

Declaring a Drought

The following resources are used by the City of Lebanon to determine the declaration of a drought condition in our area:

  1. The New Hampshire Drought Management Team as designated by the New Hampshire Drought Management Plan and the U.S. Drought Monitor. Please review the NH DES Drought Management Program for complete information. 
  2. State of Emergency declaration by the Governor’s Office.
  3. State of New Hampshire current drought status map. 

Lebanon Ordinance

Ordinance 2020-10 authorizes the City of Lebanon to implement water use restrictions in the event of a drought or other emergency. 

City of Lebanon Water Works Facts

The following are facts about City of Lebanon water works. 

  • The City of Lebanon water system uses approximately 3-5 CFS* to meet its water demand. Ninety-nine percent of the time the flow leaving Mascoma Lake is greater than 15 CFS*. Mascoma Lake is where Lebanon’s drinking water comes from. 
  • Lebanon water works produced 573 MG* of water in 2019. Peak day demand was 2.26 MG*.
  • On June 25, 2020, the State of New Hampshire classified a Moderate Drought.
  • As of July 16, 2020, the peak day for city water demand was 2.6 MG* (4.0 CFS*) on 6/23/20.
  • On July 8, 2020, the Governor announced that the NH Drought Management Team would convene for the first time on July 9, 2020 via video conference in response to moderate drought levels. 

* Terminology
MG= Million gallons
CFS= cubic feet per second 

How Can You Help Mitigate Drought Conditions?

The following are things you can do to help mitigate drought conditions in our area.

  • Cutting out non-essential water use and using water more efficiently during a drought are significant means of mitigating drought conditions.
  • Abide by water restrictions implemented by your municipality or public water system and consider recommendations made by state agencies.

Water Conservation Efforts – City Water and Wells

The following are things you can do to conserve water. 

  • Cut out non-essential uses such as outdoor water use for lawn watering, car washing and pressure washing.
  • Conserve water by cutting back on shower times, only doing full loads of laundry when necessary, and turning off the faucet while brushing teeth, doing dishes and washing hands.
  • Replace old water fixtures and appliances that are wasting water. Top-loading washing machines built before 2003 and toilets older than 1994 are known to be the largest water-wasting culprits in the home. Showerheads older than 1994 can also waste a great deal of water, as can older bathroom sink aerators. Selecting ENERGY STAR® certified machines and replacing old water fixtures with EPA WaterSense certified fixtures is an easy way to ensure you are choosing products that will save water and perform. For guidance on selecting ENERGY STAR® and WaterSense certified products and more water efficiency tips, see the NHDES water efficiency fact sheets.
  • Fix leaks, including running toilets. Running toilets can waste hundreds of gallons a day. Old and worn toilet flappers are often the culprit and are very easy to replace. Also, some toilet leaks can’t be heard. Check for a leak by dropping food coloring (12 drops) or a leak detector dye tablet in the toilet tank. Do not flush for 15 or 20 minutes. If the dye shows up in the bowl, you know that your toilet is running.
  • Spread out the timing of water use so that multiple water uses do not co-occur and so the well has time to replenish between uses. (Relevant to well owners)
  • Review the NH DES Drought Guidance for the Public and Drought Guidance for Homeowners on Residential Wells for more information.