Wachusett Reservoir is the second largest body of
water in the state of Massachusetts. It is located in central Massachusetts,
northeast of Worcester. It is part of the water supply system for
metropolitan Boston maintained by the Massachusetts Water Resources
an aggregate capacity of 65 billion U.S. gallons
(240 million m³) and an area of almost 7
square miles (18.2 km²). Water from the Wachusett flows to the
Reservoir by way of
It has a maximum depth of 120 feet (36.5 m)
and a mean depth of 48 feet (14.6 m).
reservoir is fed by the Nashua, Quinapoxet, and
along with the Quabbin
carries water from the Quabbin Reservoir.
It is part of the Nashua River Watershed
River above the town of Clinton was impounded by the Wachusett Dam. 4,380 acres (17.5 km²) were flooded in the
towns of Boylston, West
Boylston, Clinton, and Sterling.
Old Stone Church on the Reservoir
viewed from the Stillwater River
Work was completed in 1905 and the
reservoir first filled in May 1908.
West Boylston's prominent landmark — The Old Stone Church — was
left remaining as a reminder of those that lost their homes and
jobs to the building of the reservoir. It is one of the most
photographed sites in the area.
When it was built, the Wachusett Reservoir was the largest public
water supply reservoir in the world and the largest body of water
in Massachusetts. It has since been surpassed by the Quabbin
that article for a history of reservoir building in
Recreation and fishing
Because the reservoir is the water supply for Boston, not all areas
around it are open to the public. To assure pure water, there are a
number of regulations prohibiting boats, ice fishing, wading,
swimming, overnight camping, alcoholic beverages, littering,
animals, bikes, and motor vehicles from the reservoir and abutting
property. A network of fire roads provides easy access for hikers
and cross-country skiers.
As of 1999, the reservoir contained 12 native and 12 introduced
species of fish
. The limited access, combined
with abundant, high-quality habitat, produced state records for
, land-locked salmon
, smallmouth bass
, and white perch
. Approximately 80% of the 37 mile
(59.5 km) shoreline is usually open to angling from April 1 through
November 30, depending on ice conditions. These regulations are
controversial as there is little evidence recreational activity
through fishing and non-motorized or electric-powered boating can
actually cause contamination to untreated, raw water.
Wachusett Reservoir at Sunrise