Connecticut officials say drought conditions have worsened in five of the state’s eight counties.
The Connecticut Interagency Drought Workgroup on Monday raised the drought status for Hartford, New London, Tolland, and Windham counties to Stage 3 out on its five-stage scale, indicating they are in a moderate drought.
Among other things, residents in Stage 3 drought areas are being asked to stop watering lawns and limit other outdoor water use. They are also being asked to prepare to use alternative water sources in the event wells, farm ponds, fire suppression supplies, or other critical water sources become depleted. Owners of private wells are asked to limit water use to only essential needs.
Stage 3 is the same level of drought Connecticut experienced during 2016-2017, according to the group, which includes representatives from the governor’s office, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
The group also determined that conditions in Middlesex County are consistent with a Stage 2 drought, which is an emerging drought, potentially impacting water supplies, agriculture, or natural ecosystems. Litchfield County remains at Stage 2 and Fairfield and New Haven Counties remain at Stage 1.
Those in Stage 2 areas are being asked to reduce watering and other non-essential outdoor uses of water and postpone planting of new lawns or vegetations.
The monitoring group said that reports of low water levels in private wells, streams, agricultural water supplies, and fire suppression ponds have been increasing, especially in eastern Connecticut.