Water / Wastewater

Water Supply Status

This page contains information about the city’s water supply which includes a description of the source water system and items relative to any ongoing water restrictions.  Information on water conservation can be found on the city’s water conservation webpage.

Normal  Watch  Warning   Emergency Critical 
Less than 5%
reduction in
supply capacity
Between 5% and
10% reduction in
supply capacity
Between 10% and
20% reduction in
supply capacity
Between 20% and
35% reduction in
supply capacity
Greater than 35%
reduction in
supply capacity
Shaded block indicates current local drought stage

System Description

The public water supply for the City of Haverhill is obtained through a system of surface water supply reservoirs with Kenoza Lake being the terminal reservoir.  This is where water is withdrawn and treated in the city’s water treatment plant prior to being pumped into the water distribution system for delivery to water customers.

primary series of water supply reservoirs for Haverhill’s water supply is Kenoza Lake, Millvale Reservoir, Crystal Lake, Round Pond, and Winnekenni Basin.  This system of reservoirs has a State permitted withdrawal of 7.1 million gallons per day averaged over the course of the entire year.

Haverhill also has a series of registered emergency water supply reservoirs.  The emergency system consists of Johnson Pond, Chadwick Pond, and Hovey’s Pond.  While these supplies were once an integral part of the city’s water supply they were removed from primary supply service in 1980.  As a result of the city’s 2003 Water Management Act permit, Johnson Pond was removed as an active source by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). Any future use of this emergency system would require authorization from the MassDEP as well as the use of portable rental water treatment units.

The next generation of Haverhill’s water supply lies in groundwater withdrawn from a well or series of wells drilled into the sand and gravel deposits along and under the Merrimack River.  Preliminary water supply study efforts have considered utilizing the city’s existing emergency sources but the most feasible and cost effective option is to develop a high yielding ground water supply.  On May 29, 2012 the City Council approved an Order that accepted the recommendation of Mayor Fiorentini’s Water Supply Committee to advance work on a ground water supply.  Since that authorization the city has been working on exploring various sites along the riverbank and is in the process of preparing to construct a large diameter test well that can eventually be transitioned to a public water supply well once all applicable testing and permitting is complete.  This new ground water supply would be incorporated into the city’s existing primary water supply reservoir system and eventually be utilized to increase the daily withdrawal limit of 7.1 million gallons per day.  Download our project summary document for more detail on this water supply project.

Current Supply Status

Haverhill and the region are in the midst of an extremely dry period due to the lack of precipitation.  In

  Rainfall  Rainfall Rank
in 122 Years 
September 2016   2.75"  58th Driest
2016 YTD Total
(through September 30)
 20.00"  3rd Driest
Rainfall data based on water department records dating to 1895 

fact, in Haverhill, the last seven months has yielded below average monthly precipitation.  This coupled with lower than average rainfall in 2015 has placed additional stresses on our water resources.  Based on local rainfall records 2015 was the 23rd driest year since 1895.

   Water Supply Status for the Month of:    September 2016
Water Body  Start of
Month Level
End of
Month Level
End of Month
of Days
 Kenoza Lake  108.7  107.6 78.1  176,149,827  30 
 Millvale Reservoir  37.0  37.5 26.3 66,898,525 0
 Crystal Lake  147.1  144.7 65.8  84,404,689 30 
    Reservoir Balance:  -91,745,689  

On July 8, 2016 the MassDEP issued a drought watch for the northeast region of the State.  On September 1, 2016 MassDEP revised the drought declaration to warning status.  You can find more information on MassDEP's drought monitoring as well as a listing of other communities with water restrictionsOn a local level, Haverhill has also declared a drought watch.  Haverhill’s drought watch status is determined when Kenoza Lake is between 5% and 10% below the average reservoir capacity on any particular day.  As of August 31, 2016 Kenoza Lake is 5.7% below average capacity.  This rebound in capacity was achieved by transfering the water held in Millvale Reservoir to Kenoza Lake.  Now that this transfer is complete the trend toward 10% below average capacity will resume.  You can view a chart of the current lake level by clicking on the preview images of each chart.
Chart of Kenoza Lake's Level Trend
You will clearly see on the charts that water reservoir levels are cyclical.  The reservoir system is operated to provide the maximum possible elevation in Kenoza Lake in mid to late spring, typically by the end of April.  Reservoir levels will often be at or in the drought watch zone in the fall and winter seasons and there will not be a declared drought status.  The reason for this is that the reservoir system is in the recovery stage and there is adequate supply volume to replenish Kenoza Lake as describKenoza Lake Capacity Statused earlier. 

Declining supply trends, rainfall totals, and increased usage after the start of the summer season, similar to this year, are generally the cause for concern and increased drought monitoring.

We ask that all water customers enact voluntary water conservation measures to help stabilize our water supply levels during this dry period.  Some measures that customers can take include:

  • Not watering outdoor plants and lawns between 7AM and 7PM when evaporation is highest.
  • Avoid watering pavement and hardscaping when irrigating.
  • If possible, avoid irrigating ornamental plantings and grass entirely.
  • Utilize rain barrels to capture rainwater for irrigation.
  • Checking for and repairing water leaks in faucets and toilets.
  • Avoid handwashing vehicles and consider using a commercial car wash where water is typically recycled.

Collective voluntary water conservation measures now will allow us to conserve our water supply and may help in avoiding more severe drought mitigation measures such as mandatory water restrictions later in the season.  In addition to the suggested voluntary water conservation measures listed above you may visit the city’s water conservation page.

Water Production Data

Water demand for September 2016 returned to normal.  The month had a typical number days where the flow was above the September average day flow.

Water Treatment Plant Pumpage   Month of:  September 2016 
 Year Flow (M Gal)   Daily Avg (M Gal)  # Days > Sept Avg Flow
 2016  166.820  5.561  10
 2015  204.098  6.803  24
 2014  181.579  6.053  16
 2013  170.724  5.691  7
 2012  171.836  5.728  14
 2011  161.250  5.375  2
 2010  180.941  6.031  12
 2009  173.053  5.768  14
 2008  172.340  5.745  16

The chart below compares 2016 daily city water usage with the previous three years.

Daily City Water Demand Chart
Content last updated: October 20, 2016

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