Dry conditions prompt water usage restrictions

WILTON — Both Aquarion Water Company and South Norwalk Electric and Water (SNEW) are warning customers of higher-than normal demands for water.

Aquarion issued a press release on Friday asking customers to reduce non-essential water use, citing ongoing high temperatures and no significant rainfall in the forecast.

The company went further and said it is experiencing near-record water demands and has hit its first drought trigger in Southwest Fairfield County. Due to these demands, six towns are now under a mandatory, twice-weekly irrigation schedule. The six towns are Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Newtown, Stamford and Westport.

About 1,000 homes and businesses in Wilton are on water lines owned by Aquarion.

Although Wilton is not among them, Aquarion asked customers here to voluntarily follow the schedule:

 Residents with even number addresses can irrigate lawns Sundays and Wednesdays, 12:01 a.m. to 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. to midnight.

 People with odd number addresses can water grass with sprinklers on Saturdays and Tuesdays 12:01 a.m. to 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. to midnight.

 Properties with no numeric address can irrigate lawns on Sundays and Wednesdays 12:01 a.m. to 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. to midnight.

“Large portions of Connecticut are currently experiencing conditions ranging from ‘abnormally dry’ to ‘moderate drought’ due to an extended dry spell, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,” Aquarion’s release said.

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A banner on SNEW’s website also asks the public to reduce or eliminate non-essential water usage where possible. The company serves several hundred homes in the Silvermine section of Wilton.

Outdoor water conservation tips include:

 Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn provides shade to the roots and helps retain soil moisture, so your lawn requires less water.

 Reduce your sprinkler setting to two days per week. The grass roots will grow deeper and make your grass more drought tolerant.

 Adjust your sprinklers so that they're watering your lawn and garden, and not the street or sidewalk.

 Turn off your irrigation system and use hand watering or drip irrigation for shrubs and flowers.

 Inspect your overall irrigation system for leaks, broken lines or blockage in the lines. A well-maintained system will save you money, water, and time.

Indoor tips:

 Turn off the water while lathering up, shaving, or brushing your teeth.

 Minimize baths and the amount of water you use for each. Trim one minute off the length of your showers.

 Wash only full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine.

 Hand wash dishes in a pan or the sink, not under continuous running water.

 Reuse dehumidifier water or use a bucket to capture shower and bath water while you wait for it to warm up; then use the water to water your plants.