Nearly half of Connecticut under Extreme Drought Warnings

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THOMASTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The United States Drought Monitor just elevated the northwestern part of Connecticut to an extreme drought level.  The area includes Litchfield, Hartford and parts of New Haven county.

News 8 went behind the gates of Waterbury‘s reservoirs in Thomaston, to see first hand how hard they had been hit.

“You’re seeing the dry land that’s typically underwater this time of year,” said Don Carver, the Acting Superintendent of Waterbury’s Water Department. “As you can see, this reservoir is down about eight feet. Typically, this time of year it’s down about one or two feet.”

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In the 22 years that Carver has been with the Brass City’s water department, he has never seen the conditions like this.

Vast stretches of banks that should be submerged underwater are now baking in the sun. Carver says that this spring, Waterbury’s five reservoirs were at full capacity.

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Despite rain this week, the low rainfall totals over the past two years have taken it’s toll. Waterbury’s Morris reservoir is down 20 feet – that’s about 12 feet more than usual this time of year.

“I think we take water for granted when you see something like this,” said Carver.  “And it’s not until you don’t have it that you realize the value of it.”

Waterbury is already under mandatory drought restrictions. Those remain in effect. For example, residents have been asked to cut down their water usage by 20%. If it gets worse, the city will look at other ways to cut back on water usage like monitoring big water users on a weekly basis.

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But, everything depends on the weather.

“It’s like Connecticut has had a wedge around it,” says Carver. “All it takes is a couple of miles for these storms to miss you.”

Carver says there is some good news with winter coming.

“We’re going into the low demand,” said Carver. “We use less water.”

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