Water Supply Status Report May 10, 2021

May 10, 2021

Water use restrictions are currently not in effect. Management of our water system has helped reduce water loss due to leaks and increase groundwater levels through the efficient use of our surface water supply. However, as the accompanying information shows, prior to the rain events in late April and early May, weather conditions have been very dry. If dry conditions persist, the City may ask for voluntary restrictions and if conditions deteriorate, mandatory restrictions on non-essential water use may be required. They could include odd/even or two-days/week watering schedules. 

We continue to ask our water customers to please use water wisely, minimize waste, and incorporate water efficient fixtures and appliances whenever possible. The City of Portsmouth’s Water/Stormwater Division encourages residents to “Think Blue” and consider some of these water-saving measures you can practice at home, including potentially replacing inefficient toilets and washing machines: www.cityofportsmouth.com/publicworks/water/water-efficiency-information.  Water operations staff continue to assess the supply conditions and will provide updates as needed.


The Seacoast area of New Hampshire continues to be dryer than normal. Recent rains in late April and early May have helped to replenish the reservoir and groundwater a bit, however, as the graphic shows, we are over 12 inches below normal for the last twelve months, or 72 percent of normal.


As shown in the previous graphic, our precipitation since May 2020 is below normal. Currently, the drought outlook anticipates continued dry conditions. 


Portsmouth Water System operators track the USGS stream flow gauges in the Oyster River and Lamprey River to assess flow conditions. These gauged watersheds are used to assess the relative recharge to the Bellamy Reservoir through its tributaries, the Bellamy River and Mallego Brook. The recent rains helped the reservoir recover from the dry conditions earlier this year. Water is currently flowing over the reservoir’s spillway. 


As previously stated, the integrated management of our water system allows our system operators the potential to utilize surface water when that source is of sufficient quantity and quality. The following graphic shows the amount of surface versus groundwater. As the light blue columns show, we are withdrawing about 30 percent less water from our groundwater sources than we were ten to fifteen years ago. This has helped preserve the availability of water from these sources.

To read the full report, click here
Water Supply Status webpage: https://www.cityofportsmouth.com/publicworks/water/supply-status

Supply Status for May 2021