Aquarion Douses Daily Watering

It was a weird time for Aquarion’s announcement: a rainy day, a week or so before winter begins.

But the water company chose today to say that due to an “ongoing precipitation deficit,” it will introduce permanent 2-day-a-week water limits on in-ground irrigation systems and above-ground sprinklers.

The program will take effect “during the 2018 watering season.” Residents may continue to use drip irrigation, soaker hoses and hand-held watering devices at any time.

Aquarion will also ask golf courses to reduce water use by 10%.

The Westport restriction is similar to those in place in Darien, New Canaan, Greenwich and Stamford for the past 18 months.

Aquarion says that the 4 other localities where restrictions are in place have already saved 860 million gallons of water. The company adds that lawns and gardens thrive on reduced watering. Roots grow deeper into the soil, absorbing more moisture and nutrients — even during dry spells.

Beginning next month, Aquarion will conduct public presentations in Westport to provide the rationale and expected benefits, and describe the actual process.

Westport’s water consumption is “well above average,” Aquarion officials say.

The restrictions come as some North Avenue residents oppose the utility’s proposed new water tanks across from Staples High School.

First selectman Jim Marpe says:

Aquarion must be clear on its agenda for Westport. I know that Westport residents will be willing to do their part to conserve water if our local supply is truly vulnerable. However, if we are looking at 2 new water tanks that take into account an increase in water usage, Aquarion must be forthcoming with its calculations. We need to understand the relationship between having another public utility structure in town with the requirement to reduce water utilization.


The irrigation schedule will be based on the last digit of street addresses. Even- numbered homes — and those with no number — can water on Sundays and Wednesdays; those with odd numbers can water on Saturdays and Tuesdays. All watering is restricted to before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.

Variances are available in certain circumstances — for example, if new plantings or sod have been installed.

For more information — including how to landscape and garden with less water — click here.

Balloons show the height of Aquarion’s proposed water tank on North Avenue.

14 responses to “Aquarion Douses Daily Watering

  1. Welcome to the rest of the Developed World!

    • Dan, thanks again for staying on top of this! There is no coincidence at all in the timing of this announcement: By now over 1000 Westport residents are questioning why Aquarion is building industrial sized tanks opposed to Staples Highschool (almost tripling todays’ capacity 1.5 -> 4.3 million gallons) with no plausible justification for the increase yet – yet at the same time the company is issuing this restriction.

      Tomorrow Aquarion is meeting with the group, state representatives and the first selectman to discuss the proposed huge construction.

      Some fun facts that the SMART WATER WESTPORT ALLIANCE found out:

      1. Westport never ran out of water in past. Contrary to Greenwich, Stamford and Darien, Mr. Marpe explained that we are getting part of our water from industrial-sized tanks in Bridgeport – unfortunately, the tanks are oversized as Bridgeport lost almost all industries. Wee are in support of water conservation, but we don’t like to see gigantic tanks build across our crown jewel Staples if it’s not serving Westport but surrounding areas.

      2. The restricted watering is supposed to be enforced by neighbors reporting each other. Violations will result in a shut down of water service. Anyone reminded of East Germany during the cold war?!? I recommend watching the Lives of others. Have fun watching and reporting your neighbors irrigation plan!

      3. So for anyone interested in the bigger picture: Aquarion will meet with town officials, state policy makers and Westport residence tomorrow to discuss the water tank project. There are alternatives that SMART WATER FOR WESTPORT has come up and is going to present.

      The First Selectman had recommended to wait with this announcement, but the company still went ahead anyway. We see this as an unnecessary provocation by the company.

      We demand that the company is returning to an orderly business conduct and starting to act as a partner of the community.

      Hear more about it, join to tomorrow’s debate at Staples HS at 7pm and sign the (‘Westport Tank’) – like 1000+ fellow residents already did. Thanks so much.

      • Okay. Send your excess water to the undeveloped world, or California.
        And please don’t ever complain when you experience drought.

      • So am I to understand that there is some kind of enforcement mechanism that will be deployed here? Who exactly will be doing the enforcing? Is there a schedule of fines? What will the standard of proof for a violation be? Or will the threat of a water shutoff simply be threatened?

        • A rational resident respects the stages of water restrictions, made clear by the town/city and bylaws officers.
          If not, warnings are given, then a hefty ticket is issued. Simple.

  2. Robert Harrington

    It’s interesting that Aquarion is BOTH planning to increase the current water capacity in the by building two giant 38ft water tanks – and increasing current water capacity by almost 200% – yet is imposing water restrictions at the same time. This is a suprise to most – but Westport’s P&Z made this deal with Aquarion back in August. It’s great to see Jim Marpe coming coming out with a strong statement on this. To find out more from Aquarion on the Water Towers and this issue – come to a key meeting TOMORROW night (12/13) at Staples High School Cafeteria at 7pm. Leading state and town officials will be meeting with key Aquarion officials.

  3. Does this water restriction have anything at all to do with the reduced size of the proposed new water tanks on North Avenue? It kinda looks like payback.

  4. Will never be enforced and what about the golf course and its criminal waste of water…Longshore gets watered in the RAIN…oh, yeah, and ya’ think BHC would mention GLOBAL WARMING in their screed…”precipitation deficit” my ass……it’s global warming, so call it what it is.

  5. The comments here don’t seem to reflect much knowledge of where our water comes from or how it gets here, and seem to rely on a certain amount of conspiracy theory.

    The construction of water tanks will not expand the amount of water available, but only put it closer to the users, and provide better security of access, particularly for emergencies. It’s a gravity-fed system and that means the water needs to move from higher to lower. It gets pumped up a hill into a holding tank, and gets released when we open our faucets, or, more importantly, when the fire department opens hydrants.

    As far as I know, our water comes primarily from the Saugatuck River, supplemented by a few well fields. The water is held in the reservoir along Valley Forge road and Newtown Turnpike in Weston and Redding. From there, it is sent by pipe to the Hemlock reservoir, which is basically a holding reservoir, along Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield and Easton. From there, it gets distributed to the various areas in the Aquarion system, including Westport.

    Water usage patterns have changed dramatically in recent years. Homes are vastly larger and, as our fire chief has pointed out, burn more dangerously and require substantially more water to stanch flames. We have many more swimming pools, all of them filled with water! And, probably the largest culprit, we have a surfeit of home irrigation systems that guzzle water with abandon, but keep our lawns nice and green.

    Right now, we are in a drought. We were in one last year too, but its effects were reversed by a very wet spring and early summer. Since summer, though, rainfall has been very low, and our water supply is consequently very low indeed. I have been observing the Saugatuck reservoir for over 20 years, and I have never seen it this low. At the moment, it is an excellent place for amateur archaeologists to study the village of Valley Forge that was flooded out when the dam was built. Foundations and stone walls are readily visible on the floor of what was a full lake a mere six months ago. The capacity of the reservoir is around 37,000 acre-feet. I have no idea what its present level is, but even casual observation shows it is dangerously low. If you doubt me, take a drive along Valley Forge Road and Newtown Turnpike the length of the lake, and you will see.

    If we don’t have a very snowy winter and a wet spring, we will enter the spring with a serious lack of water. I am surprised Aquarion waited this long to impose water restrictions. Simple observation of the supply system should convince anyone that this has nothing to do with the proposed construction of new towers on North Avenue and everything to do with weather and arguably profligate water usage.

    • Very informative. The West coast has been living with water restrictions for quite a few years now, even in the “Rain Forest”.

  6. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Any seafarer can tell you what a “navy shower” is. Ten gallons per day X 350 million people. Would that help the situation? How much would it cost to do that? 😉

  7. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    I guess the rebranding to Aquarion was inevitable given the fact that we are a totally consumption driven society. “This is the dawning of the age of Bridgeport Hydraulic” just didn’t make the cut.The Prince formerly known as Artist.