Buzzards Bay Water District Meeting

The board of commissioners for the Buzzards Bay Water District, Wendy Chapman (left), Bob Ethier, Joe Carrara Sr. and Judy Flynn, discusses sending a letter to selectmen asking for inclusion on town routing slips for new construction and development projects.

Bourne’s water districts will now be included as part of the Town of Bourne departmental review of proposed construction projects.

Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino announced this week that the town’s three water districts will be on the town’s routing slips when a new project is brought before the town.

In an email dated Tuesday, August 20, Mr. Guerino said that “that the three water districts will be on the Town of Bourne ‘routing slips’ for construction and other projects commencing September 1, 2019.”

The announcement came minutes ahead of a Buzzards Bay Water District meeting that had on its agenda discussion and vote on approaching the town about placing the water district on the town’s routing slips.

A routing slip is a document that is generated whenever a proposed project is filed with the town. It is circulated among the various town departments, boards and committees. Heads of each group offer comments on the proposal, whether it does or does not meet town regulations, and whether that department, board or committee is affected by the project or not.

The district’s board of commissioners still went ahead with a vote, and unanimously approved sending a letter to the Bourne Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. The letter would be a formal request to be added to the town’s routing slips.

The agenda item and vote were brought up in the wake of criticism lobbed at town officials by the the Buzzards Bay Water District’s board of commissioners. A year ago, the commissioners chastised town boards and committees for not including them in discussions relative to the renovated Buzzards Bay Park.

Members of the water district’s board of commissioners were particularly upset that they were never consulted about water usage for the splash pad at the park’s new playground, as well as irrigation of the park’s new lawn.

When it opened Memorial Day weekend of last year, the splash pad was available throughout the day. Water District Superintendent Steven Souza said at the time that in its first week of operation, the park used 343,000 gallons of water for both the splash pad and irrigation. That came to approximately 49,000 gallons per day.

Mr. Souza noted that the state Department of Environmental Protection set a total limit of 530,000 gallons of water per day that the district can pump from the ground. The substantial use at the park could jeopardize the water district’s ability to provide water to its customer base, the commissioners argued.

In response, the town decided to limit the hours that the splash pad would be in use. It was open from 10:30 AM to 7:30 PM, instead of its original schedule of 10 AM to 9 PM. That constituted a 20 percent reduction in its use.

That decision was made in mid-June. Several weeks later, a 2-year old girl had a little toe severed on a damaged slide, and the incident resulted in the playground and splash pad being shut down for the remainder of the year.

This year, the playground reopened over Memorial Day Weekend, with the splash pad hours further reduced. Currently, it is open six days a week, from 11 AM to 4 PM, and then again from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. The park is closed to the public on Tuesdays to allow for maintenance, which also decreases water usage.

“The town made an effort to try to conserve as best it could,” Selectman Peter J. Meier said.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Mr. Souza told the commissioners that water usage at the park last year came to a little more than 3 million gallons. As of mid-August, the park has used 1.9 million gallons, he said. Commission chairwoman Wendy Chapman suggested that usage should start to go down because both the splash pad and irrigation will be closing in the near future.

Bourne Department of Public Works Superintendent George M. Sala said the splash pad will be shut down and water turned off after Labor Day weekend. The rest of the playground will remain open for children to use the equipment, Mr. Sala said.

Mr. Sala also said that irrigation of the grass at Buzzards Bay Park will be turned off around the end of October, early November. He said the water will be needed when overseeding of the lawn is done around the end of September.

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