As spring nears, Stamford officials address drought and irrigation

As spring nears, Stamford officials address drought and irrigation.
STAMFORD — Irrigation is the focus of conservation efforts in the wake of an ongoing drought that officials say could linger for months — if not years.
Lawn-watering accounts for most of the discretionary water use in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan, Stamford Mayor David Martin said Monday.
“Single-family residences are the single-largest user by far,” he said.
The state is experiencing its worst drought in 50 years after more than 30 months of below-average rainfall that has starved reservoirs in Stamford, Greenwich and Bridgeport.
“You are the intermediary and we can be more effective controlling irrigation companies.” In the fall, Aquarion enacted a mandatory outdoor watering ban and asked residents to reduce other water use by 20 percent.
Yet, they note the top 25 percent of Aquarion customers account for 56 percent of water use, versus the bottom 75 percent that account for 44 percent — a trend attributed to heavy irrigation by the top users.
The top 1 percent of customers use an average of 800 gallons per day, compared to 74 gallons for the bottom 50 percent, said Jeff Ulrich, water operations director for Aquarion.
“This isn’t a one-year deal and it’s over,” Ulrich said.
“They’re better than they were in the fall, but they’re still well below what you would normally expect this time of year.” The drought and the watering ban stand to change the practices of irrigation contractors, who attended the meeting to learn more about the policies and how they could affect business.

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