FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT NORTH KINGSTOWN’S NEW SPRINKLER ORDINANCE
Question: WHY DOES NORTH KINGSTOWN RESTRICT LAWN WATERING DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS?
Answer: North Kingstown water customers have at times during the summer used more water than our well pumps can provide. This reduces tank levels and available fire flow and pressure. The public health and safety implications of this include compromised ability to fight fires and potential for contamination of the water distribution system. Additionally, the RI Dept of Environmental Management (RIDEM) has indicated that North Kingstown’s withdrawals for water supply during these high usage summer months are a direct cause of stress to the rivers, streams, and wetlands in the community and have a negative effect on vital cold water fisheries.
Question: HOW DOES THE NEW SPRINKLER ORDINANCE WORK?
Answer: The new sprinkler ordinance is in effect through the months of July and August only, and requires that lawn watering, whether it be done with an in-ground system or a moveable hose and sprinkler, be done only twice a week. If your house or business is on the east side (Narragansett Bay side) of Route 1 then you may water on Mondays & Thursdays only, if you are located on the west side (Exeter side) of Route 1 then you may water on Tuesdays and Fridays. No watering is permitted during the hottest part of the day from 10AM to 2PM on any day.
Question: WHAT ABOUT VEGETABLE AND FLOWER GARDENS?
Answer: Vegetables and flower gardens may be hand-watered with a watering can or handheld hose on any day of the week, as long as it is not between 10AM and 2PM.
Question: ARE THERE STILL ODD-EVEN WATERING RESTRICTIONS IN JUNE?
Answer: No, water restrictions are now only in place in July and August. Odd-even watering restrictions, found across the nation to be ineffective and counterproductive, are no longer in force.
Question: WHAT IF I PUT IN A NEW LAWN THIS SUMMER, CAN I WATER MORE FREQUENTLY?
Answer: Short term exemptions to the ordinance will be issued at the Water Department on a case by case basis. In order for an exemption to be approved, your lawn installation must be of a critical emergency nature such as a required septic system replacement. Routine lawn and landscape upgrades should be accomplished in the Spring or Fall months, no exemptions will be issued for these.
Question: WHY DON’T YOU JUST GET BIGGER PUMPS OR BETTER EQUIPMENT?
Answer: Two reasons; firstly, each well is specifically designed at construction for a distinct range of withdrawal based upon the size of the well itself and the aquifer formation it is sited in. Substantially bigger pumps would not fit within the well casing and “better” equipment if it were to withdraw water beyond a critical threshold amount, could permanently damage the well formation. Secondly, higher withdrawals from wells would require a permit from RIDEM and the agency has clearly stated they would not support increased withdrawals because of the stress on the aquatic habitat in the area due to drinking water withdrawals.
Question: THEN WHY HAVEN’T YOU DRILLED MORE WELLS?
Answer: As stated above, new sources (wells) or increased withdrawals from existing sources require RIDEM permitting which will not be supported at this time. We are however, in conjunction with the RI Water Resources Board, actively pursuing future new source locations in the event that these circumstances change.