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Water Woes Worry Some in Greenwich

Meline Dickson considers herself one of the most hydrated women in Greenwich and says she has a "thing" about water.

She sprang into action after hearing about a fellow resident — with three private wells and use of town water — who racked up a $4,000 water bill irrigating their lush gardens but let a neighbor's well run dry.

"It is easy to take water for granted," said Dickson, who said she drinks water cold "everyday, all day." She wonders whether the town should regulate the resource.

"Many of us have no idea where our water comes from," she said. "I worry that we are going to run out of water or someday that it won't be plentiful or drinkable."

Greenwich residents and the Greenwich League of Women Voters gathered recently at Town Hall to discuss water issues. Panelists included Caroline Calderone Baisley, director of the Greenwich Health Department; Denise Savageau, director of the town's Conservation Commission; and David Medd, manager of supply operation at Aquarion Water Co .

Medd said Aquarion serves about 16,000 Greenwich residents from the town's watersheds, which cover 36 square miles with all reservoirs combined. "The average [water demand] was 12 million gallons per day," said Medd. "July was a fairly warm month so our demands spiked to 17 million per day. On a peak day, it went up to 23 million, which puts stress on our system."

More than 65 percent of town residents receive their water from local watersheds. Savageau said, "Our reservoirs got down to 30 percent this fall, and at 28 percent we would have had to put on drought restrictions, which is unheard of that time of year." A big problem is that many resident who use private wells don't understand that they are part of the town's water when under a drought restriction, she said.

Baisley also expressed concern over the lack of testing of well water. "There about 8,000 homes that are served by well water," she said. "The lab only runs 250 tests a year. Over 10 percent of those tests fail for coliform bacteria in their water." She recommended testing a well every one to two years or if you notice a change in taste or color.

How do you conserve and protect your water? Do you get your well water tested? Leave a comment below or send an email to acorbett@mainstreetconnect.us .

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