CONNECTICUT INTERAGENCY DROUGHT WORKGROUP ENDS FIRST-EVER DROUGHT WATCH, MAINTAINS STATEWIDE DROUGHT ADVISORY
Urges Residents and Businesses Served by Public Water Suppliers to Continue Following Requests from their Suppliers
(HARTFORD, CT) – The Connecticut Interagency Drought Workgroup met last week to review the latest drought conditions in the state and determined that while the state’s first-ever Drought Watch can be terminated, a lower-level Drought Advisory shall remain in effect for all of the state’s eight counties. The Drought Watch had been declared by the group in October for Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, and Tolland Counties, and a Drought Advisory had been issued at that same time for New London and Windham Counties.
While precipitation has improved over the last several months, the group’s members determined that streamflow and groundwater levels have demonstrated some volatility and remain vulnerable as seasonal leaf-out occurs. They are urging residents and businesses served by public water suppliers to continue following any advice or requests from their supplier and municipalities, as conditions will vary across the state. Those supplied by groundwater wells should be aware of any local ordinances in place regarding water usage restrictions, and should conserve water to reduce the potential stress on their wells, neighboring wells and on the environment.
A list of water companies that have requested voluntary conservation or imposed mandatory restrictions can be found on the Department of Public Health’s website. Drinking water reservoirs have improved and average levels statewide were at more than 100 percent of normal as of the end of April, with three systems at less than 90 percent of normal.
The group advises that reducing outdoor water use can be an especially effective conservation measure, particularly as the warmer seasonal weather approaches. Nearly 7,000 gallons of water are required to apply one inch of water to a quarter-acre lawn. During the irrigation season, many people use more water for lawn irrigation than for all other purposes combined.
While this was the first time a Drought Watch had been issued in the state, lower-level Drought Advisories had been declared in 2016, 2010, 2007 and 2002. A Drought Advisory is the first of four stages of drought defined in the Connecticut Drought Preparedness and Response Plan. A decision to issue a Drought Advisory is based on an assessment of indicator data monitored by state and federal agencies, including precipitation, stream flows, groundwater levels, reservoir status, soil moisture, vegetation, and fire danger conditions. Data are available for review at the state’s Water Status website.
The Connecticut Interagency Drought Workgroup consists of state officials from the Department of Public Health, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Department of Agriculture, Office of Policy and Management, and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. The group will continue to monitor conditions across the region and will provide updates as appropriate.