Drought worsens in Connecticut
The occasional downpours from showers and thunderstorms may have help freshen lawns and gardens, but it’s not helping to ease the drought.
On Thursday, U.S. Drought Monitor reported that conditions are worsening across parts of the state.
Extreme drought conditions in the northern part of the state are from Windsor Locks to Putnam. Most of the state had moderate drought conditions. A small section of the state in the corner of northwest Connecticut in Salisbury is listed as having abnormally dry conditions. Rainfall is about 5 inches below average that it should be this time of year.
Extreme drought is the fourth highest of the five classifications from the U.S. Drought Monitor and means major crop losses are possible along with widespread water shortages or restrictions.
“Little or no precipitation fell on most areas, leading to intensifying and expanding dryness and drought in many areas,” Drought Monitor reports. “Extreme drought was introduced in northeast Massachusetts (and northern Connecticut) where 90-day rainfall deficits exceeded 8 inches. In other drought areas, shortfalls of 4 to 7 inches were common during this period.”
The state Department of Public Health issued a drought advisory for the state last month. U.S. Drought Monitor has said the 12-month period ending in June was the fourth-driest on record.
Aquarion recommends ways to use water more efficiently, while helping conservation efforts:
Allow grass to grow longer; taller grass is healthier and requires less water
Use brooms or blowers instead of water to clean decks, driveways and sidewalks
Don’t wash cars or boats with a hose
Shut off ornamental water displays
Do not leave water running while washing hands, shaving, or brushing teeth
Take shorter showers
Hand-wash dishes in a basin, not under running water
Repair leaks in plumbing and fixtures
Across the Northeast, the hardest hit areas are in western New York, Massachusetts and southern parts of New Hampshire and Maine where it's been dryer than in a decade or more. And national weather experts predict the drought will persist at least through the end of October. If there were a drought epicenter, it probably would be Massachusetts.
About 60 percent of the Northeast was under some sort of drought condition. The region includes New England, the Middle Atlantic states, Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia.
While Connecticut has received some rain from thunderstorms, the downpours haven’t helped much. Because the soil has dried out and hardened, torrential rains have rolled off the rock hard ground. Farmers say rain from storms that are moderate and spread out over time are better absorbed by the soil.
Last month, Aquarion urged its customers to conserve water. With below average rainfall and extremely high water demand compared to the same period last year, Aquarion’s reservoirs and wells are below normal capacity. Aquarion aked customers reduce outdoor water use by limiting lawn irrigation to a maximum of twice a week (customers can select any two days) if they are using an irrigation system or hose-end sprinkler. Use of a hand-held hose for watering is allowed at any time.