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Rilling issues drought advisory

The South Norwalk reservoir, Friday morning. “The water level is beginning to drop,” Paul Cantor said. (Paul Cantor)

NORWALK, Conn. — Connecticut is “experiencing Stage 2 Drought conditions,” Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday. Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling issued a drought advisory Friday, in partnership with the First District Water Department and the South Norwalk Electric and Water Company (SNEW).

“The City is asking residents to do their part to conserve water given the lack of rainfall and Governor Lamont declaring Stage 2 Drought conditions across the state,” Rilling said in a news release. “Drought conditions could continue into the months ahead, and by taking steps now, we can help preserve water supplies and mitigate potential harm. I want to thank everyone in our community for their patience and for being mindful of their water consumption.”

All eight Connecticut counties are “experiencing Stage 2 Drought conditions due to precipitation across the state being below normal,” Lamont’s news release said. “Under the state’s drought plan adopted in 2018, Stage 2 identifies an emerging drought event, potentially impacting water supplies, agriculture, or natural ecosystems.”

“Residents should be mindful of their water consumption and take sensible steps to reduce impacts on other water uses and on the environment,” Lamont is quoted as saying. “We must begin early steps now to mitigate the potential for harm should the drought become prolonged.”

Norwalk’s news release said:

“The First Taxing District and SNEW have mandatory irrigation conservation rules that the City encourages residents to revisit. They include a mandatory irrigation schedule from April through October that requires customers to water their landscape no more than twice a week and prohibits automatic irrigation between 10 AM and 6 PM during this period.

“To enhance water conservation, Norwalk’s Department of Recreation and Parks has temporarily ceased irrigating its grass fields. This includes fields at Calf Pasture Beach, City Hall, Norwalk High School, Roton Middle School, Ryan Park, Veterans Park, and 50 Washington St.

“The City, the First District Water Department and SNEW ask residents to take the following steps to help conserve water:

  • “Take shorter showers and skip baths altogether (a full bathtub can use up to 70 gallons of water);
  • “Only wash full loads of laundry;
  • “Check for leaks around the house, including leaky toilets;
  • “Keep drinking water in the refrigerator, so you don’t have to run the faucet while it cools;
  • “Stop rinsing dishes before you place them in the dishwasher;
  • “Take your car to the automatic car wash instead of washing it at home;
  • “Reuse water for your plants wherever you can;
  • “Apply mulch to plants, shrubs and ornamental trees to reduce water evaporation from the soil; and
  • “Switch from a hose to a broom for cleaning your ”

 

The governor’s office also suggests you postpone the planting of any new lawns or vegetation.

Tips on water saving measures can be found on the Department of Public Health’s website here and on the First District Water Department’s website here.

The governor’s news release said:

“Stage 2 is the second of five stages of drought defined in the Connecticut Drought Response and Preparedness Plan. The Interagency Drought Workgroup classified New London and Windham counties as being at Stage 1 on June 2, when there were early signals of abnormally dry conditions. That stage is intended as a ‘heads up’ regarding the possibility of a developing drought.

“The decision to move to Stage 2 is based on an assessment of indicator data monitored by state and federal agencies, including precipitation, surface waters, groundwater, reservoirs, soil moisture, vegetation, and fire danger conditions. The state has experienced this level of drought five times in the past two decades, in 2002, 2007, 2010, 2016 and 2020.  If conditions deteriorate further, the state could reach Stage 3, having reached that threshold in four counties in 2020.

“The Interagency Drought Workgroup has moved the entire state to Stage 2 because precipitation shortfalls, reduced ground water levels, stream flows, and soil moisture impacts are especially pronounced there. Rainfall and droughts do not follow political boundaries, and impacts can be more severe at certain locations. Those who depend on private wells, fire or irrigation ponds, and other highly localized water resources should be especially mindful of local conditions, especially in places where previous droughts have affected supplies.

“The State Interagency Drought Workgroup consists of representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Department of Public Health, Office of Policy and Management, and Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, with assistance from the National Weather Service and United States Geological Survey. More information on the Interagency Drought Workgroup and the State Drought Plan are available here.”

The South Norwalk reservoir, Friday morning. (Paul Cantor)

7 comments

Milly July 16, 2022 at 5:45 am

Stop all apartment building – that will conserve a lot of water. Though the last time the city had a drought the water department said the thousand of new apartments had no effect on lack of water – how can that be true?

Piberman July 16, 2022 at 12:13 pm

Homeowners remain free to spread pesticides dangerous to health but need reduce watering lawns and shrubs.

Priscilla Feral July 16, 2022 at 2:20 pm

Piberman gets it right on the toxicity of pesticides and it’s a further hazard that run-off from these lawn and garden care chemicals enter Five Mile River and our water supply. The lawn care companies spray these weed killers and insecticides about every three weeks. Informed minds ought to know. The City of Norwalk banned their use in public areas, and residents shoukd catch on.

CT-Patriot July 17, 2022 at 4:00 am

Well, if you put a large shopping mall, numerous high-rise apartments, add in a few PUD houses, you’re gonna run out of two things for sure.

Land and water.

Time for reassessment of future developments.

Otherwise, we will be paying for water being transferred from other areas at a heavy price.

Let this water shortage because warning.

Ben Hanpeter July 17, 2022 at 10:45 pm

@ Milly, apartment and condo dwellers don’t have lawns to water. Multifamily housing is significantly more water efficient than single family houses with big lawns. The effect on municipal water systems of building additional housing (of any sort) is a different issue entirely.

From a water conservation standpoint, along with a multitude of other benefits (rent, walkability, etc.), multifamily housing construction should be encouraged.

Tysen Canevari July 17, 2022 at 10:49 pm

Oh God. Here we go with the pesticides again. As a company that uses them we do not pollute tye five mile river and others. Harry and the council banned them for votes not for fear. He lives in a condo where they are applied and has no issue. He washes his big boat when he ties it up at Sono boat club when he pulls in. So much for the drought huh? It’s all about the votes!

JLG July 18, 2022 at 5:18 pm

@ben ,across the US private water usage including residential lawns is a small fraction of industrial usage. In a town like Norwalk, expected water usage per acre, including industrial is ~164,000 gallons per year. waypointe uses ~801500 gallons per acre per year. there is no amount of ‘yeah, but’ anyone can say to overcome those numbers. density requires considerably more resources per acre. it’s a simple fact.

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