University officials have asked water users to observe mandatory conservation measures after the third driest August on record, with no appreciable rain in the immediate weather forecast.
The measures are more stringent than those implemented in early August when the University issued a water conservation alert, asking all its water system users to voluntarily conserve water.
The conservation alert was based on a special trigger that is part of the University’s plan to cut back on consumption during dry weather conditions, says Thomas Q. Callahan, associate vice president for operations. It is based on environmental factors and not on the system’s ability to meet current or projected demand.
However, daily consumption has increased by approximately 30 percent because of the return of students and the start of the fall semester.
The University and its professional water system operator and manager, New England Water Utilities Services, have continued to closely monitor and assess daily consumption, well field production and storage; environmental conditions; and the precipitation forecast, and have determined it is now prudent to move to a Stage II drought watch, he says.
A drought watch advisory means conservation measures are mandatory. That means:
- Lawn watering for all University and non-University users is limited to four hours per day or less and to the hours of 5-9 a.m. and 7-9 p.m. Athletic fields are limited to two hours’ watering each day during the same hours.
- Filling public or private pools must be provided via pool truck.
- Washing motor vehicles is banned. The University’s wash bay is closed until further notice.
- The use of ornamental or display fountains is banned.
- The use of water for washing and wetting down streets, sidewalks, driveways, or parking areas is banned, unless required by the local public health authority.
- The use of UConn water for dust control at construction sites is banned. Contractors are required to provide water for dust control from off site.
- The use of hydrant sprinkler caps is banned.
- Water main flushing will only be used to address water quality issues.
- The University expects to take additional voluntary steps to curtail consumption in its dining facilities, central utilities, and irrigation systems.
- The Aug. 6 water conservation alert also remains in effect. Students, faculty, staff, and other members of the University community and other UConn water system users should:
- Take shorter showers.
- Run dishwashers and washing machines with full loads.
- Avoiding letting water run continuously when washing dishes, shaving, and brushing teeth.
- Avoid power washing buildings.
- Raising thermostats in UConn buildings, particularly when leaving at night.
- Immediately report any leaky fixtures in UConn buildings to Facilities Operations: 860-486-3113.
Says Callahan, “By reducing consumption during these dry weather conditions, you can help us reduce groundwater withdrawals and protect local streams and the aquatic life they support.”