Drought Conditions and Water Conservation

Current Drought Status: No drought
[View the current NH drought status map]

What is a drought?

A drought occurs when a region experiences below-average precipitation over an extended period, resulting in low stream flows and low surface water and groundwater levels. Drought classification occurs in levels. Please visit the United States Drought Monitor page to learn more about these levels.

The following is a brief overview of the different levels. 

Level 0 - Abnormally Dry (no restrictions)

Level 1 - Moderate Drought 

  • (Voluntary) The public is requested to voluntarily refrain from lawn and landscape watering and to limit the amount of water used outdoors for other purposes.
  • (Mandatory) Lawn and landscape watering shall not occur between the hours of 8AM and 7PM. 

Level 2 - Severe Drought

  • (Mandatory) Lawn and landscape watering; washing of motorized vehicles and boats; and washing of driveways, sidewalks, or other impervious areas by odd-numbered addresses is allowed on odd-numbered days of the month.
  • (Mandatory) Lawn and landscape watering; washing of motorized vehicles and boats; and washing of driveways, sidewalks, or other impervious areas by even-numbered addresses is allowed on even-numbered days of the month.
  • (Mandatory) Lawn and landscape watering shall not occur between the hours of 8AM and 7PM.

Level 3 - Extreme Drought

  • (Mandatory) Lawn and landscape watering; washing of motorized vehicles and boats; and washing of driveways, sidewalks, or other impervious areas by odd-numbered addresses is allowed on Mondays and Thursdays only.
  • (Mandatory) Lawn and landscape watering; washing of motorized vehicles and boats; and washing of driveways, sidewalks, or other impervious areas by even-numbered addresses is allowed on Tuesdays and Fridays only.
  • (Mandatory) The use of automated lawn and landscape sprinkler systems is prohibited.
  • (Mandatory) The filling of swimming pools is prohibited.

Level 4 - Exceptional Drought

  • (Mandatory) Lawn and landscape watering is prohibited.
  • (Mandatory) Washing of motorized vehicles and boats is prohibited.
  • (Mandatory) Washing of streets, driveways, sidewalks, or other impervious areas is prohibited.

Declaring a Drought

The following resources are used by the City of Lebanon to determine the declaration of a drought condition in our area:

  1. The New Hampshire Drought Management Team as designated by the New Hampshire Drought Management Plan and the U.S. Drought Monitor. Please review the NH DES Drought Management Program for complete information. 
  2. State of Emergency declaration by the Governor’s Office.
  3. State of New Hampshire current drought status map. 

Lebanon Code

Article VII (Water Use Restrictions) of the Lebanon City Code authorizes the City to implement water use restrictions in the event of a drought or other emergency. View Article VII Water Use Restrictions

City of Lebanon Water Works Facts

The following are facts about the City of Lebanon waterworks. 

  • The City of Lebanon water system uses approximately 3-5 CFS* to meet its water demand. Ninety-nine percent of the time the flow leaving Mascoma Lake is greater than 15 CFS*. Mascoma Lake is where Lebanon’s drinking water comes from. 
  • Lebanon waterworks produced 573 MG* of water in 2019. Peak day demand was 2.26 MG*.

* Terminology
MG= Million gallons
CFS= cubic feet per second 

How Can You Help Mitigate Drought Conditions?

You can do the following to help mitigate drought conditions in our area.

  • Cutting out non-essential water use and using water more efficiently during a drought are significant means of mitigating drought conditions.
  • Abide by water restrictions implemented by your municipality or public water system and consider recommendations made by state agencies.

The following are things you can do to conserve water. 

  • Cut out non-essential uses such as outdoor water for lawn, car, and pressure washing.
  • Conserve water by cutting back on shower times, only doing full loads of laundry when necessary, and turning off the faucet while brushing teeth, doing dishes, and washing hands.
  • Replace old water fixtures and appliances that are wasting water. Top-loading washing machines built before 2003 and toilets older than 1994 are known to be the largest water-wasting culprits in the home. Showerheads older than 1994 can also waste a great deal of water, as can older bathroom sink aerators. Selecting ENERGY STAR® certified machines and replacing old water fixtures with EPA WaterSense-certified fixtures is an easy way to ensure you choose products that will save water and perform. For guidance on selecting ENERGY STAR® and WaterSense-certified products and more water efficiency tips, see the NHDES water efficiency fact sheets.
  • Fix leaks, including running toilets. Running toilets can waste hundreds of gallons a day. Old and worn toilet flappers are often the culprit and are very easy to replace. Also, some toilet leaks can’t be heard. Check for a leak by dropping food coloring (12 drops) or a leak detector dye tablet in the toilet tank. Do not flush for 15 or 20 minutes. If the dye shows up in the bowl, you know that your toilet is running.
  • Spread out the timing of water use so that multiple water uses do not co-occur and the well has time to replenish between uses. (Relevant to private well owners)
  • Review the NH DES Drought Guidance for the Public and Drought Guidance for Homeowners on Residential Wells for more information.