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Suffolk County Water Authority Encourages Odd/Even Watering Days

Sydney A. Braat

Suffolk Legislator Bridget Fleming, Suffolk County Water Authority Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey W. Szabo and New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. announce SCWA's three-point plan to encourage water conservation on the East End at a press conference in Sag Harbor. (Courtesy Photo)

The Suffolk County Water Authority is calling upon all residents to reconsider the use of water sources this summer season. They have requested the communities of Suffolk County to adopt odd and even watering days to prevent a tremendous demand on the water system and water pressure throughout the distribution system. If the community does not actively think of ways to redistribute water use, our lives could be compromised when fire protection is needed.

"The protection of our water resources has become the most pressing environmental issue on Long Island. Most of our efforts have been focused on protecting and improving water quality," explained New York State Assemblyman, Fred Thiele. "For example, there will be a referendum in each of the 5 East End Towns to extend the Community Preservation Fund (CPF) by 20 years from 2030 to 2050 and permit up to 20 percemt of the fund to be utilized for water quality improvement projects. In addition, the State has undertaken a $5 million Nitrogen Reduction Plan for Long Island and the state has established a Water Quality Technology Center at Stony Brook University."

"However, equally important is water conservation," continued Assemblyman Thiele. "This becomes a particular problem in the summer time on the East End because we have substantial water usage because of the explosion in seasonal population and the large size of the houses here. Specifically, if we encounter a very dry, hot summer, the demand for water puts a great deal of stress on the Suffolk County Water Authority's water supply. Thus, a voluntary conservation program is the best way to address these issues. If we get good voluntary cooperation, we can avoid mandatory conservation programs."

The process to join the voluntary campaign is simple: if your house number is odd, water on odd days and if your house number is even, water on even days. Most automatic irrigation systems make it easy for home owners, as they have a switch to select an odd or even watering routine.

The total system water flow of Suffolk County in gallons per minute. (Courtesy Photo)

There is also a Suffolk County Water Authority's (SCWA) East End Water Wise Club. As a member you will be eligible to receive an account credit on your water bill of up to $50 per customer for purchasing low-flow shower heads, faucets or rain sensor for your lawn watering system.

"Because our water comes from directly beneath our feet in our sole source aquifer, it's especially important that we use our water wisely," said Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming. "There's a lot we can do to reduce or eliminate wasteful water uses. I'm happy to support this important effort by the Suffolk County Water Authority. It's an excellent step in the right direction."

CEO of Suffolk County Water Authority, Jeff Szabo added, "We're very excited about this initiative. We're fortunate to have the support of Assemblyman Thiele and Legislator Bridget Flemming."

Szabo also shared the shocking amount of water usage per family in a given year: "Typical customers use about 160,000 gallons a year, but we have a lot customers on the East End that use several million gallons a year, primarily for irrigation purposes, so watering lawns and making sure the grass is green, all of which creates a tremendous drag in our distribution system."

Shifting the time you choose to water your grass could make a tremendous difference for the Authority. "We're asking folks to shift time of use to a little earlier," said Szabo. "We think shifting to smarter water conservation techniques could help the Authority and help us prevent spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in additional capital infrastructure as we meet that demand."

There are many ways to get involved in this water conservation effort.

To learn more, call SCWA at 631-292-6100 or visit www.scwa.com.

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