Greenwich approves new water restrictions

October 6, 2016

GREENWICH — Facing a shrinking supply in the town reservoirs, the Board of Selectmen have implemented additional water use restrictions.

The water level in the reservoir was last measured this week at 29 percent and while the earlier restrictions have had an impact on curbing usage, the lack of rain has caused further reduction as the levels were at 34 percent last week.

“We have to assure there is an adequate water supply for the continuation of essential service for the inhabitants of the town,” First Selectman Peter Tesei said. “Greenwich, unlike other communities, has a far lower supply in our reservoir and Aquarion Water Company is in the process of making sure our Putnam Reservoir has adequate supply to maintain the systems and not have them fully depleted.”

Aquarion has moved in water from alternative sources to help recharge Greenwich’s reservoirs but the town is looking to do more too.

“It is imperative that people conserve this natural resource otherwise we’ll be in dire straits,” town Director of Health Caroline Baisley said. “We need to be able to drink fresh, clean and safe water. Any non-essential use of water should be curtailed.”

Last month the selectmen put in place mandatory bans on outdoor water use for water irrigation and water features like fountains. On Thursday, the selectmen unanimously expanded those restrictions to include all outdoor watering unless necessary for a commercial farm or of new plantings with a bucket or watering can. The selectmen also restricted all use of water to clean motor vehicles, boats, the exteriors of buildings or windows unless it is done as a manner of livelihood.

Golf courses now have mandatory restrictions on watering fairways limiting irrigation to tee areas and greens and restaurants now cannot serve water unless specifically requested by customers. Additionally, all businesses are being asked to submit to the town and implement a water conservation plan to reduce consumption by 20 percent.

Residents are also being requested to curb their own water usage by 20 percent.

The previous restrictions did have an impact. Water consumption in Greenwich has fallen from a peak at 32 million gallons per day over the summer to five gallons per day now. Town Conservation Director Denise Savageau said this came primarily from reducing outdoor irrigation

Under the restrictions, tickets of $91 can be issued per violation to people and businesses by the Greenwich Police Department. Since the restrictions went into place on Sept. 22, GPD Sgt. John Slusarz said there have been 71 instances of property owners being educated about the restrictions and 67 warnings issued but no tickets have been given as of Thursday morning.

“Everybody has cooperated,” Slusarz said.