If you live in East Lyme and were planning to water your lawn, wash your car, or fill the kiddie pool this weekend, hold that thought.
At last night’s special meeting, the paved the way to imposing water restrictions as needed. The restrictions, which will be announced if and when the water supply levels drop over the summer, will start from 9 a.m. Friday through noon on Monday every week until further notice.
Summertime water restrictions are nothing new for East Lyme. The ordinance allowing the town to limit water use has been on the books for
more than two decades.
“This is one of the reasons we looked to solve the water supply problem,” said East Lyme .
Now, at least, there’s a plan in place to do that.
Last year, voters approved a $10.9 million proposal to connect to New London's water system. The project is about two-thirds the way along in the design phase at this point. Construction of a water main to connect the two water systems at Lake Konomac is expected to begin in the spring of 2013, possibly sooner if the winter is mild, Formica said.
Most of the new water main will run along Route 161 and Route 85. Once the water systems are connected, East Lyme will provide water to New London from September to June, which is when the city needs it most, and in return, East Lyme will be able to draw back that same amount of water for the town’s use during the dry summer months.
If everything goes according to plan, East Lyme residents will be free of water restrictions by 2014. In the meantime, however, the following Friday to Monday restrictions apply:
- Residents aren’t allowed to water their lawns, wash motor vehicles, trailers, and boats, or hose down driveways or external structures.
- Filling or cleaning swimming or wading pools is prohibited.
- Restaurants are banned from automatically providing water to patrons, so if you want a glass of water, you'll have to ask for it.
People caught violating any provision of the restrictions will face a $99 fine each time they do it.
Formica said that when he first took office in 2007, public hearings about water restrictions were packed with residents unhappy about the ban on water use. At the June 28 public hearing, however, no one showed up to voice their opinion, either for or against.
Now people understand that the ban doesn’t apply to gardens and that the restrictions are only in effect from Friday to Monday, Formica said, most residents support the idea of conserving water.
“They understand it’s not a large inconvenience,” said Formica. “People comply really well. We save upwards of 1 million gallons a day over weekends in the summer.”
Water restrictions only apply to people whose homes are connected to the town’s water system. People with well water can go about their business as usual, although Formica added that everyone is encouraged to conserve water where they can.
Updates on the East Lyme-New London water main interconnection project are available on the town website at www.eltownhall.com