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Greenwich Tightens Water Restrictions On Irrigation Due To Ongoing Drought

Under the Greenwich water rules, golf courses are banned from watering fairways but are allowed to water tees and greens.
Under the Greenwich water rules, golf courses are banned from watering fairways but are allowed to water tees and greens. Photo Credit: File

GREENWICH, Conn. — With the ongoing drought, the Greenwich Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday to unanimously adopted new water restrictions.

The new rules focus on restricting water use for outdoor irrigation and are in keeping with the Emergency Water Supply Order recently issued by the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

"The new restrictions recognize that reservoir levels are improving but are still below average," the town said in a statement.

As of Feb. 22, the Greenwich reservoir system was 73 percent full. The average is normally around 88 percent at this time of year.

The new restrictions ban the use of automatic irrigation and sprinkler irrigation systems. Drip irrigation, soaker hoses, and hand held hoses are exempt from the ban.

“We are still in a water supply emergency and we will need at least average rainfall this spring to fully recover from the drought,” said First Selectman Peter J. Tesei. “Greenwich residents were able to reduce average demand on our water resources over the winter, and I applaud their efforts. It has made a real difference during this emergency.

"All residents need to continue to practice good water conservation and reduce water usage by 20 percent to ensure that reservoirs and wells to recover for the spring.”

Additionally, golf courses are banned from watering fairways but are allowed to water tees and greens. Previously banned outdoor uses such as car washing and power washing are now allowed. However, residents should still be reducing overall water use, both indoor and out, by 20 percent.

Water restrictions are effective immediately and apply townwide including residents and businesses that are served by private wells.

“During this water supply emergency, we are still restricting the drilling of new wells for irrigation and the withdrawal of water by truck from surface supplies,” said Director Health Caroline Baisley. “We need residents to understand that there is a connection between surface and groundwater. Our restrictions are set up to protect the overall health and resiliency of our water supply.”

The town is monitoring drought conditions looking at rainfall data, stream flow and ground water conditions, and reservoir levels, said Conservation Director Denise Savageau.

"All indicate that our water resources are still stressed,” Savageau said. “We have a deficit of more than 14 inches of rainfall for the past 365 days and are entering the third year of a drought. We really need several months of above average precipitation to get us out drought conditions, refill our reservoirs and recharge the groundwater.”

To achieve a 20 percent reduction in indoor and non-irrigation outdoor water use, residents are reminded to practice water conservation in their homes and businesses by following these simple tips:

  • Check and fix for water leaks, especially in the bathroom.
  • 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.
  • Replace older plumbing with low flow toilets and showerheads.
  • Sweep the drive way, do not flush with hose
  • Use bucket when washing car, don’t keep hose running
  • Do not overwater outdoor plants
For information on the Water Supply Emergency, click here .

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