NEWTON, MA — The effects of the coronavirus have meant that people have been asked to wash their hands more often than they normally might. Despite all that hand washing, however, water use has dropped regionally and in Newton, according to the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority.
The MWRA, which supplies water from the Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts to communities from Newton to Waltham and Boston reported that between March 18 and May 6, regional water use decreased by 5.8 percent over the same period during the past three years.
Boston saw the largest drop, at 13. 7 percent, followed by 13.1 percent in Waltham.
Newton's usage only dropped by 2.8 percent. In Brookline water use dropped by 2.6 percent. In some towns, like Stoneham, the usage actually did grow. (See the MWRA chart below)
Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said it's likely the city's lower number reflects the offest between institutional use decreasing and residential sector use increasing.
Newton's largest water, and sewer customer Boston College was forced to suspend in-person classroom teaching in mid-March and the campus emptied out. Water usage plummeted. Other large water users, including hotels and office buildings, have also been operating at limited capacities, and thus using less water, she said.
Meanwhile many Newton residents have been working from home, using more water - including for washing their hands.
Patch reporter Jenna Fisher can be reached at Jenna.Fisher@patch.com or by calling 617-942-0474. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram (@ReporterJenna).Have a press release you'd like posted on the Patch? Here's how to post a press release, opinion piece.