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Quabbin Reservoir At Lowest Oct. Level In Nearly A Decade

The central Massachusetts reservoir that provides Boston's drinking water is at its lowest level for this time of year in nearly a decade.

But Fred Laskey, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority executive director, says he's not concerned that the Quabbin Reservoir is at less than 88 percent capacity.

Laskey says people use a lot less water now than they did 20 years ago. "In the mid 1980s we delivered about 340 million gallons of drinking water a day into the city," he said. "Now we're about 200 million gallons a day."

Laskey says it's safe to take over 300 million gallons of water from the reservoir each day — well above what is actually being used.

He also says there's still a five- to six-year supply of water in the reservoir. "Even though we're down compared to the historic average, we're in great shape. We've got plenty of water, and it's good quality water, so there's really not much to be concerned about."

When asked what would concern him, Laskey said that if neighboring communities had droughts, they'd need to use the Quabbin, as well.

"We may become the backup supply, or the emergency supply, for other communities around us who have less storage, so that would be something that we would watch," he said. "To see if some of the people who are surrounding our service area to the north, west and south needed emergency water to get through a drought — we'd watch that pretty closely."

Laskey says heavy rains in the fall and heavy snow this winter should bring water levels back to normal. A lack of rainfall over the last year is what brought levels down this month.

The Quabbin — which was created in the 1930s by damming the Swift River — holds 417 billion gallons of water.

This program aired on October 22, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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