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Gov. Lamont advises Stage 2 drought severity statewide

The state has experienced drier than normal weather conditions this spring and so far this summer, according to state officials.

HARTFORD, Conn. — All of Connecticut is under stage 2 drought conditions as rain across the state is below normal this summer, according to state officials.

Gov. Ned Lamont approved Thursday the state's recommendation to declare a stage 2 status, known as "Incipient Drought", out of five levels of severity defined by the state.

“Residents should be mindful of their water consumption and take sensible steps to reduce impacts on other water uses and on the environment,” said Lamont. “We must begin early steps now to mitigate the potential for harm should the drought become prolonged.”

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The state has experienced drier than normal weather conditions this spring and so far this summer, according to The Office of Policy and Management (OPM).

“The combination of precipitation shortfalls and an extended period above normal temperatures have impacted the state’s water resources and increased demands upon them. Residents should not be alarmed, but begin taking steps now to reduce their water usage," said Martin Heft, Undersecretary of OPM.

New London and Windham counties were at Stage 1 on June 2 when early signs of abnormally dry conditions were starting to show.

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"We look at the rainfall, and we know that we've been down 1-2 below normal this past month. And almost 5-6 inches since the beginning of the year that we're down on our precipitation," Heft said.

Those with private wells, fire or irrigation ponds, and other highly localized water resources may be affected, especially if past droughts have affected the water supply.

The state is asking residents and businesses in Connecticut to voluntarily take action in reducing water usage to minimize drought impact:

  • Reduce automatic sprinklers and other outdoor irrigation systems
  • Hold off from planting new lawns or vegetation
  • Fix leaky plumbing and fixtures to minimize overall water use
  • Follow additional conservation requests from water suppliers or municipalities

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The Metropolitan District, which serves multiple towns and cities in the Hartford area, announced Thursday it will continue to monitor weather conditions and reservoir levels. Its drinking water reservoir supply is over 94.5% of capacity, which is 628 days' worth of water. The supply is normal compared to past capacities and water demands at this time of year, MDC said.

The town of Southbury and the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition has been asking people in the area to reduce their water consumption because the river is in what's called a low-flow period.

"It's a matter of the amount of precipitation that we have not been getting as well as kind of what is the current state of the water table," said Carol Haskins, the coalition's executive director.

People are being asked to conserve water to help protect the fish in the water.

"There's still ample water but you're gonna start to see some changes in habitat availability at that level, so trying to find those deep pockets where it's cold is where those fish are gonna be hanging out," Haskins said.

There is also a guide from the Department of Public Health on conserving water for everyday chores.

The U.S. Drought Monitor indicates all or most parts of Hartford, Tolland, Windham and New London counties are under a "Moderate Drought" status. Most or all of Fairfield, Litchfield, New Haven, and Middlesex counties are under "Abnormally Dry" status.

Leah Myers is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at lmyers@fox61.com

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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