Drought Continues; Two-Day-A-Week Irrigation Possible if Reservoir System Replenished

On Thursday the Greenwich Board of Selectmen unanimously approved new, slightly eased water irrigation restrictions.

Reached by phone, Peter Fazekas, a spokesman for Aquarion Water Co. explained that Aquarion has to request a continuance of the restriction every 30 days, with a maximum of 150 days. He said the initial order issued last summer expired on Feb 28.

The order was initiated on March 1, easing some restrictions, including washing boats and cars, irrigating nursery stock at a commercial plant nursery, power washing of residences and commercial buildings, watering of golf course greens and tees (but not fairways), and filling private or public recreational swimming pools, but irrigation ban remains in effect.

Fazekas said that as the drought alleviates, the total irrigation ban might be changed to and a two-day-a-week maximum.

“There would be some variances people could apply for, but not during July and August,” he said, adding that it is impossible to predict when the two-day-a-week irrigation would be possible.

“We’ve had some good storms lately, but they didn’t amount to a lot of rain,” he said.

Reservoir levels are improving but are still below average. Precipitation over the past 90 days has resulted in the Greenwich reservoir system reaching 73% full as of February 22, 2017. Average is normally around 88% at this time of year.

Mr. Fazekas said the Putnam Reservoir may look full, but it is just part of a system. “The larger reservoirs are nowhere near full,” he said. “You need to look at the capacity of the entire system.”

Back in the fall the Putnam Reservoir was so low that Aquarion began pumping water into it from the Bargh Reservoir on an emergency basis. The Bargh Reservoir straddles Connecticut and New York, and is utilized as part of the 3 reservoirs that supply the Putnam treatment plant.

There is another above-ground main that runs along the Merritt Parkway from New Canaan to Stamford.

Fazekas said that if and when the ban is entirely lifted, and the entire reservoir system is replenished, the overground mains would be removed.

In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, First Selectman Peter Tesei said, “We will need at least average rainfall this spring to fully recover from the drought. Greenwich residents were able to reduce average demand on water resources over the winter.”

See also:

PHOTOS: Emergency Overground Water Pipeline, Plus New, Stricter Water Use Restrictions Enacted by Greenwich Selectmen (Oct 7, 2016)

Specific Outdoor Water Use Restrictions Eased; Mandatory Irrigation Ban Still in Effect (March 6, 2017)

See also: No End in Sight for Drought. Here’s What You Can Do to Help in Greenwich (Nov 2, 2016)

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring… Who is to Blame for the Drought Restrictions? (Oct 21, 2016)

PHOTOS: Many Greenwich Residents Apparently Unaware of Phase 2 Drought Restrictions  

The Drought is Dire, Aquarion Issues Mandatory Watering Ban in Greenwich (Sept 17, 2016)