City issues voluntary water restriction in light of drought conditions

bristol city sealMayor Kenneth Cockayne announced in a press release the Bristol Water Department, as a department of the city of Bristol, is notifying customers that the city’s reservoirs have declined to 75 percent capacity from the lack of rain and that the water department has issued voluntary water restrictions effective immediately.

“Back in June, the State issued a Drought Advisory due to a lack of precipitation and many water departments throughout the state have enacted restrictions to their customers” said Robert J. Longo, superintendent of the Bristol Water Department in the press release. Longo added that “The Bristol Water Department has been working diligently since June to utilize all of our supplies and the work has helped us prevent restrictions up to today”.

The Bristol Water Department has triggers in their Emergency Response Plan that require them to issue notice when their reservoirs fall to certain percentages, said the city press release. The first trigger is Drought Alert, which goes into effect if the reservoir levels fall below 75 percent capacity anytime from July to December. This first trigger is an internal alert to the staff of the Water Department to begin preparations for a drought. Although the reservoirs have been over 80% since June, the Water Department staff initiated the Drought Advisory back in July to make sure all emergency procedures were in place well before needed.

The second trigger is Drought Advisory, which is put in place once the reservoirs drop below 70 percent, said the release. On Monday, Aug. 29, the news release said the reservoirs capacities fell to 70 percent and so the Bristol Water Department is issuing Voluntary Water Restrictions effective immediately.

Cockayne stated via the press release: “The water levels at the reservoirs and wells will continue to be monitored regularly to assure that the levels are stabilizing before mandatory restrictions would be required. The Water Department has been in close communication with the Department of Public Health, who are part of a state drought advisory group that meets bi-weekly to evaluate the state’s water supplies”.

“The early advisory from the state back in June alerted us to the fact that we were approaching another drought and that the lack of snowfall last winter created a statewide concern and not just a local concern for the water supplies to the City of Bristol,” the mayor added, according to the news release.

The Bristol Water Department in coordination with the mayor’s office is requesting that customers limit the amount of outside water use and to adhere to the department’s policy on Odd / Even watering. Odd / Even watering allows for properties with an even street number to water on even days of the month and the same for properties with odd street numbers to water on odd days of the month. The Odd / Even watering system also applies to washing cars, watering flowers and any other non-essential outside uses.

Longo added, the press release said, “In early August, the Bristol Water Department reached out to our larger users including the Parks Department, Public Works, Fire Department and the Board of Education asking for their cooperation in reducing usage at their facilities, all of which offered their immediate assistance.”

Last fall, the release said, the Bristol Water Department issued mandatory restrictions when reservoirs dropped to nearly 60 percent capacity. The mandatory restrictions were not lifted until February when reservoirs maintained above 85 percent capacity for two consecutive months.

Anyone with questions on the restrictions or the city’s water supply can contact the Bristol Water Department at (860) 582-7431.

Information on the Voluntary Restrictions along with other ways to conserve water can also be found on the Bristol Water Department website at www.bristolwaterdept.org or on the Bristol Water Department and Mayor’s Office Facebook pages.