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Lack Of Rainfall Spurs Connecticut To Issue Drought Advisory

Connecticut residents are being warned to cut back on unnecessary water usage. So far this year, rainfall is about 6 inches below average.
Connecticut residents are being warned to cut back on unnecessary water usage. So far this year, rainfall is about 6 inches below average. Photo Credit: File

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — With precipitation across Connecticut down as much as 6 inches over the last 90 days, the state Department of Public Health on Monday issued a Drought Advisory.

"I want to emphasize that water levels in Connecticut’s larger reservoirs and water systems are perfectly fine at this point. ... We are not in a drought," DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino said in a statement.

But customers of public water systems are urged to follow any water conservation recommendations that may be requested by water companies, and businesses and residents served by private wells should follow DPH’s water conservation advice.

"There are currently no reports of any Community Public Water Systems triggering their emergency contingency plans due to below normal reservoir capacities. DPH continuously monitors our reservoirs, and we are not in a drought," Pino said. "However, we have not experienced as much rain as we typically do to this point in the year. Therefore, people should be conscientious about their water consumption so that we don’t begin to experience drought conditions later this summer, particularly if rainfall continues to be below average."

Pino said water conservation measures could be requested this summer.

"While the state’s public water supplies are still fine overall, some of our smaller systems across the state with lower yielding supplies may want to consider requesting water conservation measures from their customers," said Pino. "If drier than usual conditions persist, we may see systems requesting conservation measures to protect their water supply.

"Accordingly, we are asking all residents to comply with any conservation recommendations issued by your water company and for well water customers to cut back on unnecessary water usage."

The Interagency Drought Advisory Workgroup, made up of the commissioners of DPH and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Chairman of the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA), monitors and analyzes water-related data to ensure that Connecticut’s water supplies remain stable.

At a meeting of the Workgroup Monday, it was determined that five of seven drought benchmarks had been met, triggering the state’s entry into the Drought Advisory Stage.

Those benchmarks include: precipitation, groundwater, streamflow, Palmer Drought Index and fire danger.

The remaining two benchmarks, reservoir levels and the Crop Moisture Index, have not been met.

Drought Advisories were previously declared in 2002, 2007 and 2010. If conditions continue to decline, a Drought Watch would be issued.

The DPH’s "Drought Guidance for Consumers" of public water systems can be accessed by clicking here .

Click here for the DPH water conservation fact sheet for businesses and residents on private wells.

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