One of Skillings and Sons own has been quoted in a regional newspaper talking about water restrictions.
In a July 29th article of the Boston Globe, Roger Skillings spoke against putting water restrictions on homeowners who use wells. Mr. Skillings is the owner of Skillings and Sons as well as the former president of the Massachusetts Ground Water Association.
“The real remedy is making sure water is used by everyone in a responsible manner,” Skilling said in the article.
According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, the state’s drought status is between abnormally dry and severe, depending on the part of the state.
Drought Leads to Local Water Restrictions
During times of drought, it is only municipal customers who normally face water restrictions. These include limiting the day or number of hours one can water his lawn or wash his car. However, as the summer goes on and water levels drop in area rivers as well as underground water tables, some are calling for water restrictions on well users.
Samantha Woods, the executive director of North and South Rivers Watershed Association in Norwell, argues that environmental effects of low flow water levels call for all water users to be treated equally. She says that since municipal water customers face water restrictions and other entities are forbidden from drawing water from area streams without a permit, private well water users should also be held to the same restrictions.
No Proof of Water Wells Impacting Water Table
Mr. Skillings says there is no proof from scientists that private wells are impacting the water table in measurable ways. When people are struggling to get adequate water with their wells, Skilling says, is because those wells are in the wrong area or are not deep enough.
He cited basic math as an understanding that homes with wells are not impacting water levels on the surface or underground. Skilling says if all the well owners in a 56 county area watered their lawns for over 3 hours a day during 4 months, they would only use less than 1 percent of annual precipitation. That amount cannot impact the water levels, he said.
In addition, Skillings says, irrigating with wells adds benefits to the area. Proper irrigation makes sure a homeowners grass is kept green, reduces dust and mitigates the bug population.
He said proper education of homeowners rather than private water restrictions is a better way to handle drought conditions. Homeowners with private wells should be taught to:
- Monitor the weather so they don’t use irrigation systems or sprinklers while it is raining.
- Don’t create a large lawn that requires a lot of water to maintain. Instead, look into low-water, natural landscaping known as xeroscaping.
- Water in the mornings or at night so the water doesn’t evaporate in the hot mid-day sun.
- When putting an irrigation system in, make sure the property has plenty of topsoil and subsoil so the water can be absorbed and used by plants properly.
Mr. Skillings summed up his points by saying that if water is used responsibly, then there is plenty of water to meet the residents of Massachusetts and New Hampshire’s needs.