Connecticut farmers face future impact of drought

By Audrey Russo

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    HARTFORD, Connecticut (WFSB) -- State officials are asking Connecticut residents to voluntarily limit their water usage after declaring Stage 2 Drought conditions.

The hot, sunny weather combined with the lack of rain has played a major factor in Connecticut’s drought.

Officials are now asking residents to voluntarily conserve water. The Regional Water Authority (RWA) is asking residents to cut down their water use by 10 percent.

While many might have the urge to water their lawns to save their grass from becoming dry and brown, officials say holding back is key to helping fall crops grow.

The Farm in Woodbury for example, has acres of pumpkins, tomatoes, and corn that could be at risk. The owner says their upcoming Sunflower Fest could be a bust if they do not have enough water to irrigate their crops.

Angevine Farm in Warren is also seeing the impact of Connecticut’s drought on their Christmas Tree operation.

Back in the spring, Connecticut had an excess of rain making it difficult for local farmers to plant seedlings. Now, Connecticut is experiencing a lack of water putting the future of tree plants in jeopardy.

“They’re hard to get anyways and to get them in the ground and see them perish is very devastating,” says Lisa Bergs, the executive director of the Connecticut Christmas Tree Grower’s Association.

According to Bergs, this is an example of a tree that won’t be able to survive due to the current conditions.

The Regional Water Authority says the easiest way for residents to conserve water is by tapering their non-essential water supply.

According to the Regional Water Authority, taking a five-minute shower using 10-15 gallons of water while a bath uses up to 70.

The RWA also recommends shutting the faucet off while you brush your teeth. That alone can save as much as 4 gallons of water.

They also suggest swapping a hose for a broom when cleaning any outdoor areas. Experts say water flows from a hose at a rate of 6 gallons per minute.

With the potential heat wave ahead, Connecticut officials say conserving water is now more important than ever.

“We must begin early steps now to mitigate the potential for harm should the drought be prolonged,” says Governor Lamont in a statement.

The RWA released additional tips on how to conserve water during this drought:

Check for any dripping faucets or running toilets. A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year. The average leaky toilet can waste about 200 gallons of water per day. That’s over 6,000 gallons of water a month. When cleaning dishes, scrape your dirty dishes into the trash and then put them into the dishwasher. The average dishwasher uses six gallons of water per cycle; more efficient dishwashers use four gallons per cycle. A running faucet uses about two gallons per minute. Wash only full loads of clothes. Older top-loading machines use 40 gallons of water to wash a full load. Today’s newer standard models use 27 gallons, and more efficient Energy Star washers use 14 gallons per wash. Wash your car at a car wash. Washing your car at home can use between 40 and 140 gallons of water. Washing your car at a car wash where water is cleaned and recycled uses about 15 gallons of fresh water for each wash.

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