It’s been dry in Connecticut this year, with rainfall about six-inches below average. We certainly could use the rain, but the Regional Water Authority still has enough clean water to meet the needs of our customers. As of the end of June, our reservoirs were at 82% of their capacity. The long-term average for June is 88%.
What Constitutes A Drought?
A drought is the absence of rain or snow over an extended period. There are different types of droughts: meteorological, where rainfall totals are less than normal; agricultural, where the lack of water affects crops; and hydrological, where there is less clean water in reservoirs and streams.
The level of water in reservoirs rises and falls throughout the year. Reservoirs are at their highest levels in the spring when they fill with rain and snowmelt; people use that water throughout the summer and early fall. Water levels begin to rise again in November when leaves are off the trees and people are using less water outdoors to water lawns or fill swimming pools. RWA has records of water levels in our reservoirs dating back almost 100 years, and we use that information to calculate a long-term average for the amount of water in the reservoirs for each month.
How Does RWA Respond To A Drought?
To make sure we have enough clean water for public health and fighting fires, we have a drought response plan based on the long-term average. The drought response plan calls for specific actions that the RWA and consumers can take at each level.
There are four levels: Advisory, Watch, Warning, and Emergency. As a drought becomes more serious, there will be requests to reduce water consumption at each level, starting with 10% at the Advisory level and continuing to water rationing if we’re in a state of emergency. RWA also makes changes to its operations to increase the amount of water available and to save as much water as possible.
Water Conservation Tips
Regardless of the weather conditions, consumers should use water wisely. These conservation tips will ensure that clean water is not wasted:
- Three-quarters of the water we use each day flow through the bathroom. Check for leaks.
- Be sure your hose has a shut-off nozzle. Hoses without a nozzle can spout 10 gallons or more per minute.
- Turn the faucet off while brushing teeth or shaving.
- Run your dishwasher only when full.
- Water your lawn early in the morning to avoid excess evaporation; don’t water on very hot, rainy, or windy days.
- Be sure sprinklers water only your lawn, not the pavement.
- Apply mulch around flowers, shrubs, vegetables, and trees to reduce evaporation, promote plant growth, and control weeds.
- Use a rain gauge to monitor sprinkler and rainfall amounts. Most plants and lawns require one inch a week.
- Raise the blades on your lawn mower; keep the grass higher to avoid “burning” your lawn.
To learn more about Regional Water Authority and how we supply clean water to the Connecticut community, visit us online. Give us a call at (203) 562-4020 with any questions about water quality and treatment.