Two new water conservation measures were implemented by the Suffolk County Water Authority on Feb. 1, mandating odd-even irrigation schedules, prohibiting irrigation in the hottest part of the day, and providing incentives for customers who use water conservation devices.

According to the Water Authority, “the need for stronger conservation policies became apparent during the summer of 2022 when there was a tremendous strain on the water system due to peak irrigation demand, excessive heat and drought conditions.  

“The conservation of water is essential to not only the operations of our water system, but to maintaining the natural resources we are grateful to have here on Long Island,” said Water Authority Chairman Patrick Halpin in a statement announcing the water conservation measures. “The passage and implementation of these resolutions is a monumental action by the Suffolk County Water Authority, proving our commitment to providing the finest quality drinking water for not only our current customers, but all the customers to come.”

The odd – even scheduling resolution means that, if your home or business is an odd number, you would water on odd days, and not on even days. If your home or business is an even number, you would water on even days.  No water authority customers are now allowed to use irrigation between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“These are the hottest parts of the day, where water is least likely to penetrate your plants and grass, and simply evaporate off in the heat,” according to the Water Authority.

The second resolution provides incentive for those residents who use water saving methods in and around their home through the Water Wise Account Credit Program, which will allow customers to earn an account credit of up to $250 per account for three years, by purchasing and using water conserving devices.

These devices include rain sensors, pool covers and smart irrigation devices. Previously, the credit was limited to $50 per account, and was a lifetime credit.

“While the natural aquifers we have here on Long Island are plentiful, they are not bottomless. Being cautious and mindful of how and when we use this precious resource will guarantee it is there for generations to come,” said Suffolk County Water Authority Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Szabo. “These new policies are aimed to not only to conserve water and protect the water supply system, but also to educate the residents and public on water conservation practices,” said .  

For more information on these new policies and how they affect you, visit www.scwa.com/water-quality/environment/water-efficiency/ or contact their Water Wise Checkup team at 631.292.6101.  

Riverhead Also Considers Odd-Even Watering

The Riverhead Town Board held public hearing on enacting similar irrigation restrictions at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 7. Here’s more info. Residents who attended that hearing asked pointed questions about whether they would be able to water vegetable gardens or new landscaping that requires daily watering, and how they could handle an odd-even schedule if their house is equipped with older timers.

Riverhead Water District Superintendent Frank Mancini told those in attendance that the town’s “biggest offenders are corporate,” and added that local management at individual stores often wants to comply with irrigation restrictions but the corporate office won’t install the equipment necessary to do so. He said the town hoped having such a law on the books would get these big offenders to comply.

Members of the board said they would take the public’s concerns into consideration.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she 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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