The Suffolk County Water Authority has extended its month-old water emergency alert due to “persistent severe drought conditions” on the East End, and is asking all residents to continue to refrain from non-essential water usage and stop all irrigation between midnight and 7 a.m.
During those hours, “water infrastructure is pushed to the limit by enormous numbers of irrigation timers set to the early morning hours,” according to the Water Authority.
The Water Authority announced Sept. 1 that it would be continuing the emergency restrictions, originally declared Aug. 3, “to ensure that there is sufficient water for firefighting and other emergency purposes.”
Stage 1 is the first of four stages of water emergency, and is issued when the water shortage is between 1 and 10 percent. By the most serious stage, Stage 4 or a “severe water shortage,” the shortage has increased to 40 percent.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Integrated Drought Information System (drought.gov), Long Island and much of southeastern New England is currently experiencing a “severe drought,” which is expected to persist over the next month.
During severe droughts, crop yields and fruit sizes can suffer, and residents are warned against outdoor burning. NOAA has two drought conditions worse than a severe drought — extreme and exceptional droughts — which are currently impacting several areas in the western United States.
“We are all in this together,” said SCWA Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Szabo. “Everyone
needs to do their part to ensure there is sufficient water supply for fighting fires and other emergency purposes.”