HEADLINES

Pomperaug River Low-Flow Plan Action Level Reached

Third threshold, “Water Conservation Strongly Requested,” is reached; people in the Pomperaug Basin asked to step up voluntary conservation efforts

River flows in the Pomperaug River have hit the third and final trigger in the low-flow operations plan. As called for in the plan, Connecticut Water’s Heritage Village Division, the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition and the Town of Southbury are strongly requesting that the community, including residents, businesses and public agencies in the Pomperaug River Basin, voluntarily step up their water conservation efforts because of low flows in the river.

This is the last of three possible action levels identified in the plan. Customers of the Heritage Village water system that serves customers in Middlebury, Oxford and Southbury, and private well owners are always encouraged to use water wisely. Now that the “water conservation strongly requested” action level has been reached, they are being asked to increase their water conservation efforts. Private wells and public water supplies in the area draw water from the Pomperaug Aquifer, which can affect river flows.

“The Town of Southbury is setting a water conservation example for the community,” stated Jeffrey Manville, first selectman of the Town of Southbury. Manville added, “The Department of Public Works will be limiting the washing of vehicles unless needed for maintenance, irrigation at town facilities will be reduced where possible and town hall has been requested to reduce water usage.” Manville further stated, “The Pomperaug River and its ecosystem are a vital asset to Southbury and neighboring communities. We all need to do our part during low-flow periods.”

The rearing and growth bioperiod, important developmental stages for aquatic life for the Pomperaug, occurs between July 1 and Oct. 31, and this is the kind of scenario that was envisioned when the low-flow operations plan was implemented in 2019. The current river flow is less than 7 cubic feet per second, which is the third trigger. Based on United States Geological Survey records, the Pomperaug is at a level that is reached only once about every four years, on average.

Connecticut Water, the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition and the Town of Southbury reminds all residents that on July 14, the State of Connecticut Interagency Drought Workgroup (IDW) declared ‘Stage 2’ drought conditions across the state. The IDW has asked residents and businesses to take voluntarily measures to aid in minimizing future drought impact:

  • Reduce automatic outdoor irrigation
  • Postpone the planting of any new lawns or vegetation
  • Minimize overall water use by fixing leaky plumbing and fixtures
  • Follow any additional conservation requests issued by water suppliers or municipalities

The IDW is scheduled to meet again later this week on August 18 to reassess drought conditions.

In addition to the conservation measures requested of residents, businesses and municipalities in the Pomperaug River Basin, the stress on the Pomperaug River has been further reduced, as the water supply needs of the Towantic Energy Center LLC are being met with water supply sources of Connecticut Water Company from supplies outside of the Pomperaug River Basin.

While Heritage Village Water continues to have adequate water supplies to meet the daily needs of customers and provide the public with fire protection, it strongly requests that customers do what they can to reduce water usage to safeguard the health and habitat of the Pomperaug River. Heritage Village Water, the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition and the Town of Southbury are depending on the public’s interest in safeguarding the Pomperaug River and its ecosystem to honor the latest conservation request.

Heritage Village Water customers and private well owners can visit www.ctwater.com/conservation for water conservation tips. The current Pomperaug River status and action levels can be viewed online at www.pomperaug.org/lowflowplan.

Photos of the Pomperaug River in Southbury (photo credit Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition)

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