No End in Sight for Drought. Here’s What You Can Do to Help in Greenwich

Aquarion Drought Awareness - Greenwich Free PressThe rain that fell last weekend did little to change the drought conditions in Greenwich and the region.

Reservoir levels for the Greenwich system remain low at 26.1% and groundwater levels also remain low. Last week the reservoir levels were at 26.2%.

All restrictions adopted by the Board of Selectmen on October 6, 2016 remain in effect. This applies to all residents including those on private wells, not just those served by Aquarion.

“Residents are reminded that we are still in a water supply emergency and although we are grateful for the rain, it will take a series of rainfall events to bring us out of this drought” said First Selectman Peter Tesei. “Greenwich residents have significantly reduced demand on our water resources by complying with the outdoor water ban and I applaud their efforts. It has made a real difference during this emergency. All residents need to continue to reduce water usage to ensure that we have adequate supplies through the winter and also allow for the reservoirs and wells to recover for the spring.”

As of Nov. 2, Greenwich Police investigated reports of 279 violations of the water use ban.

Police issued a total of 126 warnings and one summons for violating the ban. A summons carries a $91 fine. (Violations of the water use ban may be reported to Greenwich Police at 203-622- 8004.)

On Oct. 28, the Connecticut Interagency Drought Work Group issued the first ever Drought Watch for Connecticut. Across the state, the reservoirs levels collectively are below 65%. Gov. Dannel Malloy asked residents statewide to reduce water consumption.

The National Weather Service website shows that over the past 60 days, rainfall in Greenwich is at least 75% below normal. In October, the rainfall across much of the town averaged between 75% and 90% of normal. Normal rainfall in October for the Greenwich/Stamford region is 4.8”.

“The Town is actively monitoring drought conditions looking at rainfall data, stream flow and ground water conditions, and reservoir levels, and all indicate that our water resources are stressed,” said Conservation Director Denise Savageau. “We really need several months of above average precipitation to get us out the drought, refill our reservoirs and recharge the groundwater.”

Savageau heads up the Greenwich Water Supply Team that includes Fire Chief Peter Siecienski, Director of Health Caroline Baisley, Emergency Management Director Dan Warzoha, and the First Selectman. The team monitors water supplies throughout the year not only for drinking water but also looking at fire safety and stream flow.

The Town is preparing for the potential of an extended drought which could include additional restrictions. “It is our responsibility to prepare for natural disasters including drought,” Tesei said. “As with other natural disasters, we are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.”

To get a 20% reduction in indoor water use, residents are reminded to practice water conservation in their homes and businesses by following these simple tips:

• Flush toilets only when necessary.

• Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket.

• Take shorter showers, don’t use bathtubs unless necessary and then fill bathtubs only half-way.

• Don’t let the water run while brushing teeth, shaving, washing your hands, or doing dishes.

• Keep a bottle or pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator.

• Wash only full loads in the washing machine or dishwasher.

• Check for water leaks, especially in the bathroom.

• Replace older plumbing with low flow toilets and showerheads.