Help Protect the Lamprey River
NHDES requests voluntary water conservation in the Lamprey River Watershed
Concord, NH – In order to protect water for both fish and humans, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is now requesting that residents, homeowners, businesses and other water users in the Lamprey River Watershed voluntarily conserve water until higher flows return. The warm weather and limited rainfall over the last few weeks are causing low flow levels that hurt the ability of the river to support both human uses and aquatic life. Saving water involves simple changes that can achieve significant water and cost savings in the long run. Tips for how to conserve water, which cover everything from watering your lawn to brushing your teeth, can be found at http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/pubs/simple_steps.html.
This request covers the communities of Durham, Lee, Epping, Raymond, Candia, Deerfield, Northwood, Barrington, Freemont, Newfields and Newmarket, all of which can affect stream flows in the Lamprey River. It is important to note that the water suppliers in these towns are not at risk of running out of water, however, decreasing water use will reduce the stresses on the river at this critical time.
Specifically, current weather conditions have resulted in low flow conditions in the Lamprey River below 16 cubic feet per second (cfs), which is a protected flow. Over the past decade, the NHDES Instream Flow Program has studied the Lamprey River in order to determine the flow conditions that will protect aquatic life. While these flows vary from season to season given the broad conditions required by fish and other aquatic organisms, protected low flows levels have been determined and adopted by NHDES.
To further protect and provide water for aquatic life, a small amount of water may be released from Pawtuckaway Lake to augment flow downstream to provide water. If the stream flow levels fall and remain below 16 cfs for more than two weeks, NHDES will conduct a two-day release pulse of water from Pawtuckaway Lake to restore the stream flow pattern. Pawtuckaway Lake is currently at full pool and a release from it would lower the water level by less than an inch.If you have any questions or for more information, please contact Ted Diers, NHDES Watershed Bureau Administrator, at 271-3289. Learn more about the Instream Flow Program at: des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/rivers/instream/index.htm