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Decreasing water flows and depths are prompting concern for state officials following little rainfall.

Aug 3, 2015 5:39 PM

Low Lamprey River levels prompt concern for water use in NH towns


NEWMARKET - A decreasing water level and flow in the Lamprey River is prompting concern for state officials, who have now asked some residents to voluntarily cut back on their water use.

The river, which courses more than 60 miles through multiple towns, is currently flowing below 16 feet per second - the state's "protected" flow for aquatic life.

"It's so low, and I was wondering why?" said Darlene Capalbo. "And then I realized we haven't had much rain."

The dry weather is frustrating for Capalbo, who decided not to put her kayak into the water Monday due to the low river level.

“There are a lot of boulders going down the river," Capalbo said. "So I decided not go.”

The status of the flow may be threatening to fish and humans if the state doesn't act and rain continues to hold off.

Currently, "a small amount of water may be released from Pawtuckaway Lake to augment flow downstream to provide water," the Department of Environmental Services said.

If problems continue for 2 more weeks, additional water may be released from Pawtuckaway to restore the stream flow pattern.

The state noticed the irregular flow and depth while taking a measurement of the Lamprey in Durham.

Jim Dreher, the owner of the Durham Boat Company, said multiple rowing teams enter the river from his docks along the Lamprey daily.

Dreher said from what he's seen so far, levels aren't far from where they'd typically be.

“Slightly. But not so much," Dreher said. "Maybe, a foot – maximum, maybe two feet. But that’s not unusual.”

However, the state says they're trying to be proactive in their request for water cutbacks.

Residents in Durham, Lee, Epping, Raymond, Candia, Deerfield, Northwood, Barrington, Fremont, Newfields and Newmarket are asked to use consume less water, if possible.

Activities to decrease may include the watering of yards; and the washing of cars and sidewalks.

The water saved will reduce the stresses on the river, officials said.


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