Mandatory water restrictions in Southington after demand spikes

Mandatory water restrictions in Southington after demand spikes

More demand and a lack of rain prompted mandatory water restrictions in Southington.

Water Department Superintendent William Casarella said voluntary water restrictions started Friday. Property owners were encouraged to only water lawns or wash cars on days corresponding with even or odd property numbers.

Voluntary restrictions didn’t reduce demand as Casarella had hoped, leading him to make the measures mandatory on Monday.

“I didn’t see any response at all” under voluntary restrictions, he said. “(Demand) went up.”

Casarella said the department depends on wells for the majority of its water. He’s not worried about wells running dry, but wants to slow demand to keep from getting to that point.

“I’d rather be cautious and not have an emergency,” Casarella said.

The department usually pumps about 4 million gallons of water per day. It’s now pumping 8.3 million.

Casarella said the lack of rain has people watering plants and lawns more frequently. With many people home, they’re also doing more gardening and other outdoor work.

“I’ve seen this with nurseries. It’s the busiest years they’ve ever had. People are staying home, they’re doing more work at home. They’re putting more pools in for kids,” he said.

A day of rain would help with water levels, according to Casarella.

Manganese concerns

All of Southington’s wells have been working non-stop for more than a week. Casarella said that includes two wells shut earlier this year due to levels of manganese that are higher than state recommendations.

Casarella said the long-term fix is to install a manganese treatment system. In the meantime, the water is being mixed with water from other wells without manganese.

“With so much water being used, that manganese is being blended with other water. It cuts it down quite a bit,” he said.

No widespread water restrictions

There are no water restrictions in Meriden. Kristen Noel of the city’s Water Bureau said usage hasn’t been too elevated.

The Wallingford Water and Sewer Department couldn’t be reached for a comment Tuesday. The Regional Water Authority that serves Cheshire didn’t return a call for comment.

Rain on its way

Meriden is alone in the state in having normal rainfall, according to Gary Lessor of the Western Connecticut State University weather center. Other areas are classified as below normal.

The state should have gotten more than 3.5 inches of rain so far. Precipitation for most areas has been barely a half inch, Lessor said.

Areas of the state could get showers or thundershowers this week, but Lessor said precipitation could be very localized.

“We do have the chance for scattered showers over the next few days,” he said. “It’s that time of year that some places get it, some places don’t.”

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

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