September 29, 2022 10:13 AM
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The Suffolk County Water Authority today rescinded the Stage 1 Water Emergency that went into effect over the summer when a lengthy hot and dry period led to massive water use during the early morning hours but noted that resident response to the call for conservation needs to significantly improve in the future.

SCWA officials said that recent rain and decreased temperatures led to less stress on water infrastructure in the morning hours when many residents activate their automated sprinkler systems led to today’s action. During the last week of August, SCWA system pumpage averaged 500,000 gallons per minute between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. This past week, the figure had dropped to 360,000 gallons per minute.

Most of Long Island, though, remains in a state of severe drought. SCWA officials said that irrespective of the rescinding of the water emergency, residents need to be more responsive to future calls for conservation to ensure there is enough water for everyone, particularly during peak hours.

“What happened this summer should be a wake up call for Suffolk residents to reduce water use in their daily lives,” said SCWA Chairman Patrick Halpin. “This was a particularly bad summer, but peak hours have been a problem for years. We appreciate those who listened, but the truth is, we did not get enough cooperation from our customers. We were, frankly, lucky that we didn’t have a major fire during a time in which water pressure was dangerously low.”

Halpin said that SCWA officials are in the process of developing a comprehensive water conservation plan that will be enforceable and serve as a blueprint for the long-term sustainability of the sole source aquifer that provides 100% of our drinking water.

SCWA Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Szabo alerted customers of the action in an email message today.

“Due to improving weather conditions and the resulting lower overall water demand during the early morning hours, the Stage 1 Water Emergency declared by the Suffolk County Water Authority has been rescinded, effective immediately,” Szabo wrote in the message. “To those of you who responded to the call for conservation, thank you. Each and every one of us can make a difference. Your cooperation will help to ensure there is sufficient water supply for firefighting and other emergency situations.”

The water emergency, declared first in Southampton Village and spread later to the full SCWA service territory, urgently requested residents to stop non-essential water uses and stop watering lawns between 12 a.m. and 7 a.m.

The Suffolk County Water Authority is an independent public-benefit corporation operating under the authority of the Public Authorities Law of the State of New York. Serving approximately 1.2 million Suffolk County residents, the Authority operates without taxing power on a not-for-profit basis.   

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