STAMFORD, Conn. — Top local politicians huddled Tuesday to discuss the drought situation and left a longer-than-expected meeting with a warning to residents that if rain doesn't come soon stronger water conservation measures may have to be taken.
“We have an emergency situation in Greenwich right now, and if we can’t get this mandatory ban to work, then we’re going to be in an emergency situation in Stamford, Darien and New Canaan in the next month or so,” Stamford Mayor David Martin said after the meeting.
Martin called his counterparts — Greenwich First Selectmen Peter Tesei, Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson and New Canaan First Selectman Rob Mallozzi — to a meeting at Stamford Government Center along with local health directors and Aquarion Water representatives to talk about the worsening drought.
A public water supply emergency was declared for the region last week. And despite last weekend's rainfall, the local area is still desperately below what it should have in rainfall, Martin said.
"We got about a half-inch of rain this past weekend," he said. "We need about 10 inches of rain to catch up — we are that far behind."
The meeting began at 10 a.m., and the officials had planned on visiting the Putnam Reservoir in Greenwich at 11:30 a.m. However, the meeting in Stamford lasted two-and-a-half hours — much longer than anticipated — before they packed up and left for Greenwich.
Mallozzi said the situation is dire and another severe natural event that the area has to grapple with.
"While it's not a blizzard, while it's not a (Tropical Storm) Sandy, we are treating it as that same kind of magnitude," he said.
Stevenson said residents have to look inside their homes — even down to not running water when bushing their teeth — in order to reduce water consumption.
"Individuals can take personal responsibility in reducing demand," she said.
Tesei agreed with Stevenson, saying that it's up to residents to step up and cut their water usage.
“The key is to communicate effectively to the users that they need to restrict it, and it’s a finite resource,” Tesei said.
Aquarion has shifted some of its water capacity from Bridgeport to southwest Fairfield County in order to alleviate the situation, Stevenson said.
Greenwich has warned town residents that they could face a $91 fine for violating the ban on outdoor water use. Martin said Stamford has an emergency ordinance that calls for a $90 fine.
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