Drought affecting businesses and people across Connecticut

(WTNH) – Nearly half of Connecticut is now in an extreme drought, something the state has not seen in a long time. It is affecting businesses and people across the state.

Albert Ruggiero is the President of Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery in Wallingford. He’s not concerned about the impact the drought will have on the business. However, the winery is in a watershed area, and the owners have been mindful of conserving water since it opened.

“Instead of going through using gallons and gallons of water we introduced a steam cleaning system,” said Ruggiero.

Water companies have had to add temporary infrastructure to their systems to move water around so that there’s enough for everyone. Since some parts of the state are short more than a foot of rain, businesses and residents are now being asked to conserve water. For months residents have been asked to use less outside. Water companies have noticed people are listening, and they are asking people to keep cutting back.

“We can see if a customer is using a lot of water indoors and we will be contacting those customers to see if they can conserve more,” said Peter Fazekas, Director of Public Relations for the Aquarion Water Company.

Fazekas says even if the drought continues and the reservoirs keep getting lower, it won’t necessarily mean higher water bills.

“We’re regulated by PURA and we have a fixed rate of return as far as what we can charge customers,” said Fazekas.

However, Fazekas says it’s still important to conserve water, since we don’t know if the reservoirs will fill up in the springtime.

Meanwhile, Ruggiero says the grapes are doing well despite the drought. They thrive in hot, dry weather. Wine drinkers may notice a stronger flavor when they drink the wine.

“[Because of] the fact that there’s not a lot of water you will be getting the true flavors of most of the grapes themselves,” said Ruggiero.