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Aquarion Pipes More Water To Drought-Ravaged Bargh Reservoir Region

Aquarion Water Co. is piping water down county to create a balance in Fairfield County communities.
Aquarion Water Co. is piping water down county to create a balance in Fairfield County communities. Photo Credit: Jenn Durfey via Flickr

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — It may have rained for two solid days, but Bridgeport-based Aquarion Water Co. is adding more temporary diversion pipes to make sure down-county customers have plenty of fresh water during the persistent drought.

Motorists along the Merritt Parkway may have noticed the piping that will be used to comply with amended orders from the state Department of Public Health, said company spokesman Peter Fazekas.

Bargh Reservoir, which covers parts of Stamford and New York, is at less than 15 percent of capacity, leaving the company no choice but to move water from the Greater Bridgeport reservoirs, he said.

“It’s quite the moonscape at this point, if you were to visit,” Fazekas said Wednesday.

Aquarion has been moving water through temporary pipelines for about a month, bringing about 7 million gallons a day to the Stamford area. The latest diversion will bring that amount to 11 million gallons, Fazekas said.

Some are concerned that winter’s snowfall might not be enough to replenish the supply to normal levels and the new pipeline will ensure everyone has enough water, he said.

The greater Bridgeport reservoirs — Saugatuck, Aspetuck, Hemlocks and others — are at about 63 percent capacity, down from an average of 80 percent this time of year, Fazekas said.

With Connecticut’s drought increasing in severity, Aquarion is urging customers to cut indoor water use by 20 percent. State authorities are also seeking major reductions.

Aquarion is increasing its water conservation communications campaign to focus on simple, proven ways to cut back on indoor consumption.

These tips include the following:

  • Fixing all drips and leaks.
  • Turning off taps while washing hands, shaving and brushing teeth.
  • Shortening shower times.
  • Setting correct load levels when washing clothes.
  • Getting drinking water from a pitcher kept chilled in the refrigerator.
  • Switching to water-conserving showerheads, faucets, washers and toilets.
“We need all customers to assist in this water conservation effort,” said Charles V. Firlotte, Aquarion's president and chief executive officer. “It may take months of rainfall before reservoirs and wells return to normal capacity, which is why it’s so important for everyone to find new ways to save water.”

A public water supply emergency was declared in late summer in Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan and Darien, which included a watering ban during late summer. A similar emergency declared last month in Danbury allowed the city to draw needed water from Lake Kenosia.

Despite Tuesday's heavy rain (and more was forecast for Wednesday), 86 percent of Connecticut is under severe drought conditions and the remainder of the state is under moderate drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Aquarion has posted more ways to save water, including an interactive water calculator, at www.aquarionwater.com/CT/waterconservation.

Aquarion is the public water supply company for more than 625,000 people in 51 cities and towns throughout Connecticut, including every town in Fairfield County.

For more information, visit www.aquarionwater.com or www.facebook.com/aquarionwater .

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