Drought conditions are worsening in some parts of the state as dry weather continues. The Interagency Drought Workgroup elevated drought conditions to stage three in four counties across the state.
Residents in Hartford, Tolland, Windham and New London counties are now being asked to limit water use to essential needs, stop watering lawns, scale down on outdoor irrigation and make plans for other ways to get water if conditions continue to worsen.
"Water conservation efforts, long-term, are really needed here because we have been in such a prolonged period of no rain and precipitation," said Martin Heft, who chairs the workgroup. "Some of the rain we have had is definitely just run-off. It is not that soaking rain that we really need.”
Heft said that it is critical that people actively conserve now to sustain water use.
Some people are already dealing with limited access to water. The workgroup has received reports of low water levels in private wells, streams and agricultural water supplies in eastern Connecticut.
David Poe's family, in Brooklyn, is one household experiencing low water levels in their well.
"We have not had water for a while now," said Poe.
The family's well is shallow and has had issues before, but Poe said that the drought put it over the top. The well is dry, not producing water for use inside the house. The family has to rely on friends and family members for showers. They do not use major appliances and have store-bought water jugs in the house for drinking.
“It is a constant," said Poe. "We have to figure out a way to buy water or find water all of the time.”
Poe is now on a waiting list for a deeper well. The company, La Framboise Well Drilling, is inundated with similar calls across eastern Connecticut as rain totals lag behind.
"That has a significant impact on those shallower wells that rely on the surface water to keep them productive," explained Earl Semmelrock, who works for La Framboise. “If we don’t have water coming from the clouds, nothing is getting recharged. It is time to conserve."
Semmelrock said it is important that people focus on water conservation. He suggests people limit time in the shower and cut back on outside irrigation.
“We can’t predict how long this can be," said Semmelrock. "Conservation is the best measure.”