NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — As drought conditions continue in parts of the state into mid-October, Norwich Public Utilities has issued a water supply warning.
Water conservation measures are in place for both commercial and residential customers until conditions improve.
“We are rapidly approaching a serious water supply situation and strongly encourage our customers to be aware how they are using water,” said John Bilda, General Manager of NPU. “While we have plenty of water right now, we’re hoping customers can reduce their water use by 10% as we manage through this challenging time.”
The Deep River Reservoir in Lebanon and Stony Brook Reservoir in Montville supply water for NPU. A high water mark on a concrete column shows the water level is down several feet.
“Our capacity is much lower than we typically see at this time of year,” says Chris Riley, Communications and Community Outreach Manager for NPU. “We’re at about sixty percent.”
That adds up to about a 200 day water supply. At 100 percent and 1.8 billion gallons of water the supply would last 321 days.
“Every drop counts,” says Riley.
As part of the water supply warning, NPU is urging customers to reduce daily water usage that doesn’t impact their life style by taking such steps as to: take shorter showers, only running dish washing machines with full loads and limiting non-essential water use. Riley is hoping residential customers cut their day to day usage so water supplies don’t drop even more.
“50 percent level we would then take some mandatory steps both internally in terms of our operations working with our larger customers and then more aggressive outreach to our customers,” says Riley. “We don’t want to be alarmists but this is a serious situation.”
If it does end up being an emergency situation NPU also has a well in Norwichtown it can bring on line.”
The utility serves 11,000 customers in eight communities and is now working with major water users like Mohegan Sun to conserve. The casino hasn’t started any new initiatives because of the drought but according to a statement issued by Jean McInnis, Mohegan Environmental Protection Administrator, it continues to be vigilant with conservation using “… low flow faucets and toilets in all hotel rooms and the property wide use of a closed loop water recirculating system.”
Norwich resident Larry Shallis also conserves drought or no drought.
“When I shave I shut the water off until I rinse my blade,” says Shallis. “When I shower I shut the water off when I’m soaping,”