Greater New Haven water supply not back to normal despite recent snow
NEW HAVEN >> Despite the dumping of snow over the weekend and some rain Tuesday night, area water company officials are still voicing concerns about water levels in reservoirs.
“We’re moving in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go,” said Kate Powell, communications director for the Southwest Connecticut Regional Water Authority. “The rain and snow have helped a little bit.”
New Haven County, along with Litchfield, Middlesex, Hartford, Tolland and Fairfield counties, has been in a drought watch for more than two months, according to the state. Gov. Dannel Malloy declared the watch on Oct. 28 and called upon residents in those to reduce water usage by 15 percent.
According to the state’s Drought Preparedness and Response Plan, an area is placed on Drought Watch if cumulative precipitation levels are 65 percent lower than normal for three months.
Chris McClure, a spokesman for the state Office of Policy and Management, confirmed Wednesday that New Haven County remains under a drought watch, despite the recent rain and snow.
Powell said that RWA reservoir levels are normally at 72 percent capacity this time of year, but in December the levels were recorded at 53 percent. This is an average percent across the utility’s 10 active reservoirs.
Back in September, the reservoir capacity for RWA was recorded at 59 percent.
The area hit the hardest by the dryness has been North Branford, where much of the water supply comes from, Powell said.
In contrast, Lake Whitney, the reservoir in Hamden that provides water for approximately 55,000 customers, is at 100 percent.
The advisory level for the utility comes at 48 percent capacity across all of the reservoirs in December, Powell said. So, while 53 percent is higher than the warning levels, Powell said the utility is still encouraging customers to conserve water in the home.
“The more water we can conserve right now, the better off we will be,” she said.
The utility has limited ability to share water from reservoirs with higher levels to serve other areas, Powell said.
The RWA serves approximately 430,000 customers across 15 towns in Greater New Haven area with about 45 million gallons of water every day.
Recommended ways to conserve water include taking shorter showers and only running washing machines and dishwashers when the machines are full.