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Greenwich Calls for Voluntary Water Conservation

GREENWICH, Conn. – Greenwich residents are urged to voluntarily conserve water because of the extremely dry weather conditions, officials said Friday.

The lack of rainfall and low snow accumulation during the winter has created low stream flows throughout the area, resulting in a high risk of fires, according to town officials. Greenwich’s water supply team is reportedly “monitoring the situation daily” and working closely with Aquarion Water Co. as well as the state and federal agencies.

Stream flows are at near record lows of 93.7 percent, and groundwater levels are falling at a time of year when they should be rising, officials say. Typical reservoir levels are at 98 percent. “At this time, public water supplies are adequate, but we want to make sure that residents, especially those on private wells, are aware of the dry weather conditions,” First Selectman Peter Tesei said in a statement.

Forest fire danger in Connecticut is rated high, according to Fire Chief Peter Siecienski. “Remember that dry vegetation should be cleared at least 30 feet from homes and outbuildings,” he advised in a statement. “Dispose of hot charcoal and ash carefully and store firewood and kindling outside your cleared area.”

According to Denise Savageau, town conservation director, a good soaking rain would help to alleviate the fire danger and improve stream flow. “In Greenwich, we have residents served by both public water and private wells,”  Savageau said. “Our water supply team keeps an eye on both sources.  Additionally, we monitor fire ponds and stream flow. Water is not just for drinking. It is about fire protection and fisheries habitat as well.”

Groundwater is recharged during the winter with melting snow and rain, and the town plans to watch groundwater levels closely this summer.

Savageau heads up the Greenwich Water Supply Team, which includes Siecienski, Director of Health Caroline Baisley, Emergency Management Director Dan Warzoha and the first selectman.

Residents are reminded to practice water conservation every day. “Outdoor water use is one way to really cut down on usage as we head into the summer season. This is extremely important, especially in the backcountry, where irrigation may affect private wells and fire ponds,” said Savageau.

The following tips were offered by the team to help reduce outdoor water use:

• Add compost to your soil and use mulch in your garden to hold in moisture.

• Water gardens only when needed and use drip irrigation.

• Water lawns only when needed. One inch of water per week is enough. Use a coffee can to monitor amounts. Remember, cool-season grasses go dormant in warm weather. Brown grass is not dead, just dormant. It will green up as soon as temperatures cool.

• Make sure you know how to manually control your irrigation system.

• Don’t water your lawn for a week after an inch of rain.

• Make sure you are watering the lawn and not the sidewalk or street.

• Water in early morning or early evening to avoid evaporation.

• Plan ahead. A garden and yard designed for water conservation will be a benefit to you and your community.

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