Summer Brings Irrigation Woes: Riverhead, SCWA Ask For Residents’ Help

Odd-even watering is the thing of the future.
Odd-even watering is the thing of the future.

The Riverhead Water District yesterday asked residents and businesses in Riverhead to adopt odd/even watering schedules during the hottest days of summer — if your house or business has an odd number, water your lawn on odd days, and if it has an even number, water on even days.

The measure was put in place due to the limited capacity of the water district to pump and store water at times of peak demand.

“We are asking customers to reduce outdoor water usage to ensure our ability to meet demand,” said Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter. “Water use doubles during hot spells, sometimes overtaxing our production capability.”

Riverhead is also asking residents not to water their lawns between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., in an attempt to conserve water.

The Suffolk County Water Authority began in May to urge all residents to conserve water by adopting a voluntary odd-even day watering schedule during the summer months. More information is online here.

At a press conference at a Sag Harbor pumping facility in May, Suffolk County Water Authority CEO Jeff Szabo and elected representatives said conserving water will help keep the Water Authority from having to build more infrastructure on the East End.

“Long Island is in very good shape in comparison to many other areas around the country and around the world in terms of water quantity,” said Mr. Szabo. “But we want to make sure this tremendous resource remains plentiful for many more generations of Long Islanders, and so we’re asking for the public’s support on this important initiative.”

Mr. Szabo pointed out that the initiative will both ensure the long-term sustainability of the aquifer system, and could also help to prevent the need to build more infrastructure in the towns of East Hampton, Southampton and Southold.

The Water Authority has committed about $20 million for infrastructure projects on the East End since 2010, to meet demand on the system caused by huge spikes in water use, mostly due to early morning lawn watering during the spring and summer.

The Water Authority says those costs will ultimately be paid by all of its customers in their water bills.

“Because our water comes from directly beneath our feet in our sole source aquifer, it’s especially important that we use our water wisely,” said Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming. “There’s a lot we can do to reduce or eliminate wasteful water uses.”

The Water Authority has also begun an East End Water Wise Club, this year, in which participants will qualify for account credits for up to $50 per household for the purchase of a rain sensor and/or low-flow showerheads and faucet fixtures.

Club members can receive a credit of up to $50, not to exceed the purchase price, for a rain sensor and credits of up to $10 each, also not to exceed the purchase price, for low-flow showerheads and faucet fixtures, for a total of $50.

More information is online here.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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