Governor Lamont declares stage 3 drought conditions for New London and Windham counties
All other counties in Connecticut remain in Stage 2
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont announced today that, on the recommendation of the Connecticut Interagency Drought Task Force, he is declaring a Stage 3 drought level for New London and Windham counties in due to more severe conditions emerging in these regions. All other Connecticut counties (Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, and Tolland) will remain in Stage 2, as declared the 14th of July.
There are five levels of declarations under Connecticut’s Drought Preparedness and Response Planwith Stage 1 representing sub-normal conditions and Stage 5 being the most extreme.
Stage 3 identifies a moderate drought event, which may impact water supply, agriculture or natural ecosystems. Stage 2 is a notification of an emerging drought and is intended as an awareness stage regarding the possibility of a developing drought.
The decision to advance two counties to Stage 3 is based on an assessment of indicator data monitored by state and federal agencies, including precipitation, surface water, groundwater, reservoirs, humidity soil, vegetation and fire danger conditions. The most recent time a stage 3 drought condition was declared in Connecticut was in October 2020.
“Connecticut continues to experience the impacts of climate change with this unusually dry summer, and while the entire state is experiencing drought conditions, we are currently seeing the most severe conditions in areas of New London and Windham counties” , Governor Lamont said. “There are steps residents and businesses can take to help reduce the impacts of this drought, including voluntarily reducing water use to only absolutely necessary things and limiting the amount of water used. Those who depend on private wells, fire or irrigation ponds and other highly localized water resources should be particularly mindful of local conditions, especially in places where previous droughts have had a significant impact on water quality. ‘water supply.
The Connecticut Interagency Drought Workgroup is a state function that consists of representatives from several state agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, Department of Emergency Services and Public Safety, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Department of Public Health, the Office of Policy and Management, and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, with assistance from the National Weather Service and the United States Geological Survey. It meets as needed to assess drought conditions and make recommendations to the governor on the state’s response.
“We recommend to the governor that New London and Windham counties all be increased to Stage 3 as rainfall deficits, reduced groundwater levels, stream flows and humidity impacts of the ground are particularly pronounced there”, Office of Policy and Management Undersecretary Martin Heft, who chairs the task force, said. “Rainfall and droughts do not follow political boundaries and the impacts can be more severe in some places. We urge everyone to follow the advice of their local water company or municipality regarding any water restrictions.
To avoid further stressing water supplies and other drought impacts, state and local governments, residents, and businesses are urged to voluntarily take the following actions:
- Reduce, where possible, watering of lawns, recreation and sports grounds, gardens, or other landscaped areas (if watering is essential, late hours are best)
- Avoid burning in or near woods or brush
- Report dry fires/irrigation ponds or private wells to municipal drought liaisons or regional emergency management liaisons
- Postpone the planting of any new lawn or vegetation
- Minimize overall water use by fixing plumbing and fixture leaks
- Take shorter showers
- Run dishwashers and washing machines at full load
- Turn off the water while you wash dishes, shave, brush your teeth, and lather to wash your hands, rather than running water continuously
- Avoid washing vehicles or high-pressure washing homes and other buildings
- Do not use water to clean sidewalks, driveways and roads
- Do not use public water to fill residential swimming pools
Residents and businesses should also remain alert to any additional conservation requests from their water suppliers or municipal governments. Advice on water-saving measures can be found at the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s website and on the Connecticut Water Planning Board website.
For more information on the Connecticut Interagency Drought Workgroup and the Connecticut Drought Preparedness and Response Plan, visit portal.ct.gov/Water/Drought/Drought-Accueil.
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