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East Lyme under mandatory water conservation as drought conditions continue

Eastern Connecticut is experiencing severe drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

EAST LYME, Conn. — What's typically green and lush in the summer, has turned brown and parched this year.

"I have noticed it being very hot and very dry and being so dry, my tomato bed has died," said Kathleen Barry of East Lyme.

The entire state is experiencing a lack of rain, but Eastern Connecticut is now in a severe drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

RELATED: Severe drought impacts eastern Connecticut farms

"We're about 5-6 inches below where we need to be. We have low stream levels across the state we certainly have some issues with farms where crops are getting a little dry, we need to be cognizant of that," said Chris Collibee, spokesperson for the Office of Policy and Management.

That's why some communities are now taking more drastic steps to try to conserve water. East Lyme is enforcing mandatory water conservation after noticing a troubling trend of people using a lot of water, most likely for their lawns.

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"When someone's irritating and it's not something that they realize until they get the bill, that they could be quadrupling the amount of water that they're using," said Benjamin North, utilities engineer for East Lyme Water and Sewer.

Right now, that's not sustainable.

"Due to the drought conditions we have targeted stream flow levels that we can not go below and still draw water from so we have two wells down right now, we have another two wells that are restricted for their production," North said.

RELATED: New England farmers face challenges with severe drought

The town now has a twice-weekly irrigation schedule, and even more, restrictions could be coming.

"I think most people are aware of it and they're more than willing to comply with it," Barry said.

On a state level, the Interagency Drought Workgroup is set to meet Thursday to decide if Connecticut needs to be moved into the next stage of precautions.

For now people are urged to heed any local warnings.

"Please listen to your local municipality, listen to your local water authority, they are really going to know what is best for your community. They're going to understand real time conditions of how much water they have, what conditions are really looking like," said Collibee.

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

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