Westfield drought update

Granville Reservoir
The Granville Reservoir remained dry as a safety inspection was performed last month. (File photo by The Westfield News/Frederick Gore)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – The Granville reservoir may still be offline, but its water levels are on the rise.

The Granville reservoir has seen its water levels rise over six feet since it was first taken offline in November 2016. And while it is still too soon to tell if the reservoir will be online in the spring, the precipitation this winter has been well-received by city officials.

“We’re still below normal levels for this time of year and the level of drought as determined by the state is still just as bad,” Heather Miller, water systems engineer for the city, said. “But we’re heading in the right direction.”

The state has been in drought conditions since summer 2016, and for a period about 41 percent of the state was in the extreme drought stage, according to the United States Drought Monitor. And while that number has dwindled to just under 4 percent, a large portion of Hampden County, including Westfield, still remain in an extreme drought.

In spite of this though, the reservoir has risen from 13 feet below the spill way from the time it went offline to less than seven feet below the spillway currently.

Miller said that at this point the reservoir would still not have enough water to meet the demand of a full summer, when she said water consumption doubles in relation to the winter months. Still, if precipitation continues the city stands a chance to see the reservoir turned back on by late spring or early summer.

However, there is still a chance water usage will continue to be limited, even if the reservoir is back on. This could fluctuate, depending on what occurs in the spring and summer.

“We would like to see a fairly wet spring and summer so people don’t have to limit water use as much,” Miller said.