Port water district reiterates mandatory conservation guidelines

Port water district reiterates mandatory conservation guidelines
The Port Washington Water District has announced rate increases in order to fund infrastructure improvements for emerging contaminants. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

As part of its Be Smart and Green, Save 15 water conservation campaign, the Port Washington Water District is continuing to implement the mandatory conservation guidelines residents must follow during the hottest stretches of weather this summer.

The district says that water consumption increases exponentially in the warmer weather due to residential irrigation systems and that it is requiring all residents to follow conservation measures to reduce the periods of high demand that can put unsustainable stress on the supply infrastructure.

This year, as part of “proactive measures,” the district says it will be taking three supply wells offline for the construction of new treatment systems capable of removing “the soon-to-be regulated emerging contaminant,” 1,4 dioxane.

“Every summer, our water infrastructure is faced with meeting the increasing demand for water caused by residential irrigation systems,” said PWWD chairman David Brackett. “For the next couple of years, the conservation efforts by our community are crucial as our capacity to meet peak demand has been diminished with three of the supply wells out of service while state-of-the-are treatment is constructed.”

In an average winter month, the district pumps 2.5 million gallons of water per day, but due to irrigation systems becoming active in the summer,  an average of 5.6 million gallons per day is pumped during the summer. This year, due to multiple stretches of warm and dry weather, the district says there has been a significant increase in gallons pumped, compared to the same time last year.

“Our need to conserve water communitywide is not an arbitrary request, but rather one based on data and science,” said Mindy Germain, one of the district’s water commissioners. “This past winter, knowing these three wells were coming offline, we did a comprehensive analysis of our distribution system and pumping capabilities to determine what types of restrictions are needed to balance out our ability to meet expected capacity. Reducing irrigation times per zone by four minutes each, adhering to the district’s mandatory outdoor watering schedule and the installation of smart controllers are necessary to avoid any potential issues meeting the community’s demand. With that said, regardless of the current situation, reducing overall water consumption and ending practices that unnecessarily waste water should always be the goal for this proactive community.”

Chief among the restrictions are mandates that have been placed on the times of day each of the district’s service territories can irrigate.

From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., municipal and commercial properties will water, followed by the Village of Manorhaven and parts of Flower Hill west of Route 101 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. The next two hours will see Baxter Estates and Plandome Manor irrigate, and from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m., Port Washington North and parts of Flower Hill east of Route 101 will water. Finally, all unincorporated areas of Port Washington will be allowed to water from 3  a.m. to 5 am.

To further reduce overall water consumption, the district recommends turning back watering times for each zone by four minutes, checking for leaks or broken sprinkler heads and integration of native/drought resistant plans and xeriscaping into one’s lawn.

Starting on July 1, 2020, the district also began issuing warnings to residents who are not adhering to the mandatory guidelines.

“The district has no intention of penalizing residents who do not comply, but are hopeful the warnings will draw the needed attention to the seriousness of the matter at hand,” a statement from the district read. “Should noncompliance with the guidelines continue, the district will reevaluate its position and see if penalties can be applied.”

For additional information, interested residents are advised to call (516) 767-0171 or visit the Port Washington Water District website at www.pwwd.org.

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