Officials: Connecticut downgrades state drought level, but Norwalk not out of the woods yet
The Connecticut Water Planning Council moved to downgrade the level of drought in the state from two to one, but officials say some areas could still use some more rain.
This comes after parts of the state reached a stage three drought earlier this summer.
The state’s Interagency Drought Workgroup voted for the downgrade at the monthly meeting on Monday, but they say some areas are not out of the woods yet.
“We're not going away, we constantly meet, we constantly track, we're constantly mindful, we're still asking for water conservation,” says Lori Mathieu, of the Workgroup.
Officials say 18 of the state's 34 reservoir systems are still under 90% capacity, including some in the Norwalk area.
The Milne Reservoir supplies Norwalk's First Taxing District. A lot of exposed dirt can still be seen as officials say the reservoir sits at just 56% of normal levels.
"Sometimes when we've had rain, it hasn't been adequate enough to restock the reservoirs, and other times it sort of circled around Norwalk, we didn't get the rain that maybe some other communities did,” says Mayor Harry Rilling.
The mayor declared a water emergency in Norwalk one month ago. He says residents are still being asked to conserve.
"Use a car wash that uses recycled water. Don't power wash surfaces, your driveway, sidewalks," he says.
State and local officials hope an especially wet winter will help replenish reservoirs, starting with Tropical Storm Nicole potentially headed toward Connecticut this weekend.
"We don't want a direct hit obviously, but we certainly would appreciate some of the remnants. The more rain we get over the next couple of weeks, the better off we'll be,” Rilling says.
The Interagency Drought Workgroup is made up of representatives from the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and other state agencies. They will meet again Dec. 8.