Many people stuck at home this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic are using that time to landscape, garden or enjoy a “staycation” in pools and water activities. This may be the reason that along with other nearby towns, Darien’s water usage is up this summer, according to a recent press release from Aquarion.

The water company and town officials are letting residents know water use has to be curtailed, especially when watering the plants. Guidelines have been issued by Aquarion.

Data shows that Darien’s water demands this summer are “considerably higher” than previous years Aquarion spokesman Peter Fazekas told The Darien Times.

“Based on last week’s report, they were using approximately 6.75 million gallons a day. Last year at the same time they were using below 4 million gallons a day. We are seeing a similar rise in surrounding towns,” Fazekas said.

“We are asking for a 20% reduction in water use,” he said.

“Aquarion’s mandatory twice-weekly outdoor irrigation schedule is a permanent water conservation protocol. Folks should be following these guidelines which are available online at www.aquarionwater.com along with a number of other indoor and outdoor water conservation tips,” said First Selectman Jayme Stevenson.

Outdoor irrigation rules allow for homes with even numbered addresses or no address to water on Sundays and Wednesdays. Odd number addresses can water on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Watering should be done between the hours of midnight and 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. to midnight.

Notable is that these restrictions are for irrigation systems only and do not apply to the use of soaker hoses or hand watering.

“Using potable water to irrigate our outdoor plants puts our drinking water supply at risk. We all need to do our part to make sure we protect this critical resource,” Stevenson said.

Darien Health Department Director David Knauf said that rainfall totals for the past 60 days are well below average in this area resulting in a heightened level of concern.

“Local water supplies are becoming stressed by this deficit meaning businesses and residents need to adopt water conservation practices sooner rather than later,” Knauf said.

Tips for at home conservation include:

- do not let the water run while shaving, brushing teeth, or doing dishes

- make sure washing machines and dishwashers are full before running them.

- take shorter showers; don't take baths, or if you do, don't fill the tub

- check for water leaks, especially in the bathroom; toilets are notorious for leaking and flush toilets only when necessary.

Other water conservation measures that need to be followed:

· Do not water shrubbery, perennial flowers and trees

· No filling pools or ponds

· Only wash vehicles at facilities that use recycled water

· Report or repair water leaks

Fazekas said Aquarion is trying to avoid hitting additional drought triggers.

“If we hit additional drought triggers, further water use restrictions will have to be imposed. Next would be a reduction to one day a week watering,” he said.

More info: https://www.aquarionwater.com/conservation/tips-for-saving-water