- Associated Press - Thursday, September 8, 2016

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - The second-largest city in drought-stricken Massachusetts has banned outdoor water use and ordered restaurants to stop serving tap water unless it’s requested by a customer.

Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus, Jr. announced the new drought emergency rules Thursday, saying that the city’s reservoir system has dropped to 55 percent capacity.

Residents and businesses have been ordered to stop using sprinklers and hand-held hoses to water plants or clean cars and sidewalks. They can still use watering cans or drip irrigation systems. Fountains that use drinking water must also be turned off. New landscaping is discouraged.

Restaurants have been told not to automatically serve tap water, but provide it only if a customer asks.

The city says its reservoirs are typically at 80 percent capacity going into the fall.

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