Public water supply emergency declared in Waterbury

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The drought is continuing, and now the City of Waterbury is trying to keep the public water supply from getting even lower. The Department of Public Health signed an order on Thursday declaring a 30-day water emergency for the city.

The drought has already been affecting residents and businesses in the city. Beverly Schmidt is a co-owner of Schmidt’s and Serafine’s, a hardware store in Waterbury.

“I’m trying to straighten out my perennial gardens and I’m being conservative because I don’t want to water the plants,” Schmidt said.

Waterbury’s water supply reservoirs are now nearing critically low levels. The City’s Water Bureau provides water to Waterbury, as well as portions of neighboring towns.
Several state agencies determined that the emergency declaration was necessary to prevent water levels from getting even lower. It’s something residents like Dwayne Preston understand.

“Even last night when I was washing dishes I’m thinking about it and then I cut the water off,” said Preston.

The order means there are steps the city must take during the water emergency, including continuing mandatory outdoor watering bans and helping customers identify ways to reduce water usage.

Schmidt says at the hardware store, they’ve noticed people do seem to be using items like garden hoses less often.

“This is usually a big time of year to be planting perennials, shrubbery,” she said. “People are not buying so much because it’s hard to plant when you can’t water.”

Schmidt says faucets and hoses are already designed to use less water, so with the emergency order in place people will need to make an effort to conserve. Residents have already been banned from nonessential outdoor water usage.

“Hopefully it will pass over and we can go back to doing what we usually do,” said Preston. “I need some nice vegetables for next year. I need the rain. I need the water.”

The order will be in effect for 30 days and the city can apply for extensions, up to a maximum of 150 days.

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