The Metropolitan District says there are no mandatory or voluntary water use restrictions being requested of its customers.
That’s good news for its eight member towns and its four more towns that receive partial water service.
This announcement came from the MDC not long after the state issued a “Stage 2″ drought declaration. The MDC was able to do this, it said, as it is relatively flush with water. The agency said its “drinking water reservoir supply” was at more than 94.5% of capacity, and that means there is about 628 days of supply available — assuming regular water production and even with no rainfall in that many days.
And then it rained. We got a nice downpour this week, complete with some power outages and thunder in some areas.
But let’s hope it does rain more — and often — during the next more than 600 days.
As of July 14, the U.S. Drought Monitor reports that all of Connecticut is either “abnormally dry” or in “moderate drought.” The monitor also kindly points out that about 1.3 million of our fellow Nutmeggers live in the areas that are in drought.
In Hartford, rainfall has been down slightly more than 2 inches since June 1, according to the National Weather Service. According to weather-and-climate.com, Hartford’s rainiest month is October and its least wet month is not in summer, but in February.
But this summer’s lack of rain across the state can increase stress on farmers, nurseries and other businesses that require large amounts of water to operate.
The declaration of Stage 2 drought conditions by Gov. Ned Lamont came after a recommendation by the Interagency Drought Working Group and it means there are conditions that possibly affect water supplies in the state, agriculture and our various ecosystems. It’s the second such warning this summer.
Following Lamont’s declaration, the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority, which serves 15 South Central Connecticut communities, did ask its customers to voluntarily reduce water use by 10%.
Just a 10% reduction would help prolong available water supplies, reduce system demand and stress on water resources, and lower customer bills, according to RWA President & CEO Larry Bingaman.
While state officials have said the new drought declaration is not a reason to be alarmed, it does mean we all should take action to reduce our water use.
This can include: reducing automatic outdoor irrigation, postponing planting of lawns and vegetation and minimizing waste by fixing leaky plumbing and fixtures.
Not everyone has plumbing skills, but we can all decide to wait on planting new grass, or even to let the current lawn get a little brown. There are folks in Connecticut who have given up lawns altogether for the benefit of the environment, but that’s a whole other topic.
The MDC benefits from the fact that its water supply includes a system of reservoirs, such as the 30.3 billion-gallon Barkhamsted Reservoir and the 9.5 billion-gallon Nepaug Reservoir. The commission notes the Barkhamsted Reservoir “is the largest drinking water reservoir in Connecticut.”
That’s good for the folks who live in the MDC’s central Connecticut towns and cities, including Hartford.
But just like the rest of Connecticut can conserve water, so can those in MDC-served towns.
It poured rain this week and that probably took the edge off some brown lawns and dusty ballfields in towns that got the drenching. Flowers everywhere likely perked up.
But Martin Heft, undersecretary at the Office of Policy and Management and chairman of the Interagency Drought Workgroup, said that when it comes to dry conditions, “Everything is worsening statewide.”
Those are words we all need to heed, whether served by the MDC, a well or another water agency. We are one state and we all need water. It’s a precious resource and even if we do get more summer downpours, there is no reason to waste water.