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Drought conditions are already starting in CT despite recent massive rains

FILE - Manholes overflow on Union Ave in New Haven during a rainstorm. Later, when the flooding stops, city workers put the caps back on the manholes, which blow off whenever there’s a surge.
Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
FILE - Manholes overflow on Union Ave in New Haven during a rainstorm. Later, when the flooding stops, city workers put the caps back on the manholes, which blow off whenever there’s a surge.

Data released Thursday shows much of Connecticut is experiencing low-level drought conditions, even after rain flooded parts of the state this week.

Most of the state is “abnormally dry” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. But southwest Fairfield County is in a “moderate drought” despite the rain, which can evaporate under prolonged heat.

Peter Fazekas, spokesperson for Aquarion Water Company, said Aquarion is seeing the issue reflected in falling water reservoir levels at its Greenwich and Stamford facilities.

“Those numbers are currently dropping pretty quickly,” he said. “And we'd obviously like to slow their decrease since we're just at the beginning of July here.”

A “moderate” drought can lead to depleted reservoirs, poor crop outcomes or even wildfires. But soil for crops is still adequate for farmers at this time, the ConnecticutWaterPlanningCouncil said in a Thursday meeting.

Aquarion asked customers in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and New Canaan to conserve water by 10%, Fazekas said.

“It's not surprising based on the heat and the lack of rainfall, that we're hitting this first drought advisory,” Fazekas said. “If we could get customers to simply make some simple changes, hopefully we can avoid hitting other triggers later in the summer.”

According to Fazekas, the next drought “trigger” would require a 20% reduction in water usage.

The drought conditions come alongside extreme heat. Gov. Ned Lamont recently activated emergency heat protocols in Connecticut, extreme temperatures have blanketed parts of the United States from Texas to Florida and just this week Earth’s average temperature reached an unofficial high record.

But Aquarion said residents can still do their part to combat future water shortages caused by drought.

The first recommended change for local customers is following the twice-weekly mandatory sprinkler irrigation schedule. Being mindful about water conservation while washing dishes, laundry, or bathing is also recommended, the company said.

As Connecticut Public's state government reporter, Michayla focuses on how policy decisions directly impact the state’s communities and livelihoods. She has been with Connecticut Public since February 2022, and before that was a producer and host for audio news outlets around New York state. When not on deadline, Michayla is probably outside with her rescue dog, Elphie. Thoughts? Jokes? Tips? Email msavitt@ctpublic.org.

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