North & South Rivers Watershed Association

Scituate Hosts Public Meeting On Reservoir Raising Project June 12

While it may be hard to remember last summer’s drought with all the rain we have had recently, it is still very much in the forefront of those tasked with meeting the water needs of the Town of Scituate. On Monday June 12th at 7pm, in the new Public Safety Building, the Town will present an update on work accomplished to date to increase the Town’s reservoir storage by raising the dam 1.5 feet. Raising the dam would increase the Town’s water storage by 28 days, enabling the town to better weather future droughts. The project would also restore river herring passage into the reservoir through modifications to the fish ladder and the increased water storage.

The project, funded by a $115,250 grant from the state; developed 60% design plans, began the permitting process, analyzed how effective fish passage will be after construction and provided for an analysis of Scituate’s water demand patterns up to and including 2016.  During this phase the town was made aware of the need to make spillway improvements at the reservoir dam to comply with state standards for flood control. These improvements are required with or without the raising of the reservoir.

Major conclusions from the work funded by the grant so far include:

  • The total estimated project cost is $1.8 million dollars to raise the reservoir 1.5 feet, improve the fish ladder and make modifications to the spillway for flood control required by the state Office of Dam Safety.
  • After construction the fish ladder will have enough water to be operated effectively 97% of days in spring and 79% in fall.
  • No new area surrounding the reservoir will be flooded that doesn’t already experience high water.
  • During the drought of 2016 the first month of the outdoor water ban resulted in a 6% decrease in water demand. As the town increased enforcement and publicity, water demand was reduced by 25% in August and September.
  • Even with the new storage, during the drought of record (1966) the town’s reservoir was modeled to run dry if the town was unable to reduce demand by 25%. This underscores the critical importance of complying with outdoor water bans and year round water conservation.

To find out more about the results of this phase of the project please attend the Monday June 12th meeting at 7pm at the Scituate Public Safety Building, 800 Chief Justice Cushing Highway.

For further information please contact: Al Bangert, Special Projects Coordinator, Town of Scituate at abangert@scituatema.gov or call (781) 545-8741

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