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Hamptons Life

Jun 27, 2011 12:07 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Top Residential Water Consumers On South Fork

Jun 27, 2011 12:29 PM

Water surrounds the East End, but at many local properties, it is often guzzled in quantities as grand as the homes that grace them. And according to information provided by the Suffolk County Water Authority, excessive consumption, particularly in extreme heat, strains the whole system.

Right now, the authority (SCWA) is in the process of acquiring land for additional wells in the Southampton area to keep pace with the high demand here on the East End and beyond. A drought in July 2010 coincided with a record-shattering day for water consumption county wide, causing the SCWA to pump 500,000 gallons per minute on July 16 to keep pace with demand.

But the demand for water is stretching resources all over. A special National Geographic report on water, published last year, states that aquifers are being drained much more quickly than the natural recharge rate.

According to data obtained by The Press via a Freedom of Information Act request to the SCWA, the four biggest residential consumers of public water in Southampton and East Hampton towns in 2010 used 54.9 million gallons of water combined—more than half the amount of water in Southampton Village’s Lake Agawam alone. Those who get their water from private wells were not included in the SCWA data.

The high demand has led to low water pressure, usually around 4 a.m., which Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley called a “health hazard and safety issue” that affects the potable water pressure at Southampton Hospital and the pressure in the fire mains.

“It also impacts every building that has sprinklers,” Mayor Epley said.

The average customer in Suffolk County uses approximately 160,000 gallons of water annually, according to Tim Motz, director of communications for the SCWA. Yet the top East End consumers far outstrip that number—and often for homes that are lived in only seasonally.

The top consumer of public water on the East End last year—Millard Drexler, the chairman and CEO of the clothing and accessories retailer J. Crew Group, whose home is on Ocean Road in Bridgehampton—exceeded the county average by more than 115 times, according to SCWA data. His $10 million, 6-acre property consumed 18.4 million gallons of water in the last calendar year.

The second largest residential water consumer was Andrew Zaro’s Rosehill Road property in Water Mill. The chairman of Westchester County-based Cavalry Portfolio Services. Mr. Zaro’s property is listed as using 13.5 million gallons of water.

The biggest water user in East Hampton Town—and third overall on the East End—was listed under the “Estate of Bruce Wasserstein” on Amagansett’s Further Lane. Mr. Wasserstein, an investment banker and businessman and former CEO of the investment bank Lazard, died in 2009. His estate, however, drank up nearly 13 million gallons of water last year.

Of the top 10 residential public water users in Southampton Town, six are in Southampton Village, and of those, three are on oceanfront Meadow Lane. Linda Wachner’s Meadow Lane property was third in Southampton Town at nearly 8 million gallons used in 2010; followed by Robin Pickett’s Great Plains Road property in the village at 5.3 million gallons; Ira Drukier’s Gin Lane property in the village drew just over 4.9 million gallons, Ian Schrager’s Meadow Lane property, used 4.8 million gallons; Kenneth Lonergan’s Matthews Lane property in Bridgehampton used almost 4.8 million gallons; Joseph Gurrera’s Hayground Road property in Bridgehampton consumed nearly 4.4 million gallons; JAF 616 Ox Pasture Holdings’ Ox Pasture Road property in the village drank up just over 4.2 million gallons; and one of Robert Sillerman’s properties on Meadow Lane in the village (it is reported that he owns at least three properties on that street) poured through a bit more than 3.9 million gallons last year.

The top 10 water users in East Hampton, in general, had lower rates of consumption than in Southampton Town, and six of the top 10 were in Montauk.

In addition to Bruce Wasserstein’s estate, East Hampton’s top water users were Dwight Anderson’s Cross Highway property in Amagansett, which drank up approximately 10.1 million gallons; Geraldine Gottesman’s Briar Patch Road property in East Hampton Village used nearly 7.9 million gallons; Daniel J. Cahill’s Hamilton Drive property in Montauk went through almost 1.1 million gallons; Stephen Thieke’s Wills Point Road property in Montauk used just over 896,000 gallons; Gloria Prager’s North Farragut Road property in Montauk consumed approximately 846,500 gallons; Scott Schneider’s Old Montauk Highway property in Montauk at soaked up 790,000 gallons; Wen Gamba’s Lincoln Road property in Montauk used approximately 756,700 gallons; Ana P. Gonzalez-Leon’s Accabonac Road property in East Hampton consumed just over 746,000 gallons; and David Gahan’s South Davis Avenue property in Montauk consumed approximately 717,700 gallons.

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Ha! That's Tim Bishop's entire top tier contributor list! And with 3 properties, his main man Sillerman has got to be in the top 3. More do as I say not as I do. J.Crew and Shrager's hotels want you to focus on sustainability because they know their owners are the ones putting said sustainability at risk!
By local69 (65), southampton on Jun 29, 11 10:54 AM
what a silly comment... none of those people even vote out here. you can hate on bishop but this has nothing to do with him
By littleplains (305), olde england on Jun 30, 11 12:19 AM
now THAT is a silly comment. you work for the man and justifiably seem frustrated that you can't find a way for these knuckleheads to vote out here. and as you know, $$ talks and when you own as much real estate as they do, you want a hack that will be friendly to your excesses.
By local69 (65), southampton on Jul 4, 11 12:35 PM
The lady makes some sense to me, actually.
By HSA (68), southampton on Jul 4, 11 12:38 PM
So, rather than force these over-consuming households to cut back, the REST of us have to stop watering our lawns? Unbelievable.
By Tay (28), Hampton Bays on Jun 29, 11 11:23 AM
Does Splish-Splash know they've got all this competition in the water park business?
By rburger (72), Remsenburg on Jun 29, 11 11:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
why not have 1 residential water rate up to a threshold amount then begin increasing the cost for water over that amount? that way there will be more of an incentive for hyper rich folk to use less water. and a private well still drains the aquifer. and why isn't the water in a geothermal heating system in a closed plumbing loop? why would it need fresh water?
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jun 29, 11 12:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
“It doesn’t seem logical that I would use that much,” said John Pickett of the 5.3 million gallons his Southampton Village property was listed as consuming last year.

SERIOUSLY?

This dude's lawn is lke what, 4 acres? Please...
Jun 29, 11 1:32 PM appended by Mr. Z
I TOLD YOU SO. : http://money.msn.com/exchange-traded-fund/is-water-the-new-gold-mirhaydari.aspx
By Mr. Z (9651), North Sea on Jun 29, 11 1:32 PM
I told you so in caps? That might be the dumbest article ever published anywhere in the history of the written word. Water is plentiful and diamonds are not so diamonds cost more but let's just imagine for a moment that we ran out? It is much worse that I thought with you man.
By HSA (68), southampton on Jul 4, 11 12:37 PM
Wow.

You do frighten me.

I have a query for you. What is the percentage of total water on the planet, which is fresh?

I'll give you a hint. It's less than one percent...
Jul 4, 11 10:07 PM appended by Mr. Z
Let me put this into "gas pump" terms you can possibly understand. If fresh water one day needs to be "refined", it WILL BE a commodity, just like oil. Unless "The People" lobby to pass a law prohibiting such.
By Mr. Z (9651), North Sea on Jul 4, 11 10:07 PM
Great reporting, Southampton Press! I love the idea of tiered pricing for these
uba-water-consumers. The fresh aquifer below Long Island is a gift from the last glacial age of 25,000 years ago. It is no an endless spring - - If we abuse it, we'll lose it.
By SagHarborBob (91), Sag Harbor on Jun 29, 11 1:41 PM
3 members liked this comment
People with large lawns should be encouraged to have cisterns to collect rain water to use. Or get rid of the lawns and put plantings in that don't require alot of water.
By baywave (22), Westhampton Beach on Jun 29, 11 1:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm shocked that some investgation and actual reporting was done by the Press... hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

A Tiered pricing system would be perfect if the extra $$$$ went toward open space purchases that preserve properties over the aquifer (like in the Pine Barrens). But then again, the SCWA is short on cash and is looking to dump lands (including a very large piece in Quiogue that has a well/storage tank). So. . . they would probably screw it up and use the money improperly. ...more
By Nature (2964), Hampton Bays on Jun 29, 11 1:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
For someone so disappointed in their reporting, you sure do use their boards a lot.
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Jun 29, 11 3:03 PM
a) it's the only somewhat reliable somewhat comprehensive source of East End news around
b) 9 x out of 10 I'm using the boards to add supplemental information that 27East left out in order to inform other people reading/posting. All too often misinformation is spread or a lack of information leads to an uninformed public so I try to share my knowledge. If only the Press would hire me. . .
By Nature (2964), Hampton Bays on Jun 29, 11 3:13 PM
razza, whichever you may be, put it where the avaristic sun don't shine.
By Mr. Z (9651), North Sea on Jun 30, 11 11:01 PM
reminds me of Caddyshack, when they thought there was a turd in the pool and drained the whole thing and refilled it
By CaptainSig (647), Dutch Harbor on Jun 29, 11 8:28 PM
how many folks could we save from foreclosure with all that money you spend on your fancy lawns. Tax the rich and they will cut back on that unnecessary stuv. We need to spread that wealth round a bit more. Its disgussting to see the waste you bankers arr quilte of. just disguzting.
By local 84 (310), riverhead on Jun 29, 11 9:29 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By local69 (65), southampton on Jun 30, 11 7:28 AM
Have you ever seen MTV Cribs?
By local69 (65), southampton on Jul 3, 11 3:32 PM
and this is news because? ........ give me a break people...........
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Jun 29, 11 9:55 PM
Geothermal systems are excellent, but large houses should not be allowed to use multiple pairs of open loops because they squander crazy amounts of water. Some have as many as ten wells. (An open loop consists of two wells, one well to pump water up, another to pump it back down into the ground.) The town should require big houses to use closed loops as they use a finite amount of water permanently sealed in a loop of pipe which recirculates the water down into the ground and back to the unit endlessly.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jun 29, 11 11:54 PM
2 members liked this comment
Ditto.
By PBR (4822), Southampton on Jun 30, 11 4:08 PM
Goldenrod. Open loop water in geothermal systems is returned to the ground water table it was taken from.
By Crankie (10), Southampton on Jun 30, 11 7:24 AM
Such water may be returned to the water table, but in what condition? Has it absorbed oil/lubrication from the mechanical equipment, not to mention other worse substances injected intentionally into the HVAC discharge?

Is SCWA monitoring these discharge flow rates, and the quality of the water being returned to OUR water table?

Hmmmmmmmm.
By PBR (4822), Southampton on Jun 30, 11 5:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
While I agree that water usage is out of control - this article is full of bad information. If you re-read similar articles from last year it was the Municipalities that were using the most water & did not cut back during the drought. Also, most of the geo-thermal systems available now are indeed closed loop.

The real problem is the SCWA. Has anyone else noticed that when they dig to fix something - it takes 3 digs & repaving to get anything right? Look at their leakage/loss numbers for ...more
By G (316), Southampton on Jun 30, 11 8:19 AM
Has anyone considered that these people might just be very thirsty? Mr. Drexler is only using 50,400 gallons of water PER DAY at his property each and every day of the year. Its important to stay hydrated during this hot summer months.
By HSA (68), southampton on Jun 30, 11 4:28 PM
Aqua Vitae.

We run out of fresh water, our species dies.

Haven't you ever wanted to be part of something that wasn't as short sighted as a society driven by material excess?
Jun 30, 11 11:03 PM appended by Mr. Z
"Big Money" got no SOUL. ~ Rush
By Mr. Z (9651), North Sea on Jun 30, 11 11:03 PM
/\ 11:03pm
By HSA (68), southampton on Jul 2, 11 12:04 PM
Holy moley, Batman!

It wasn't even the witching hour yet!

I've got something for you to try. Go without water for three days.

Then, get back to us on how millions of gallons are necessary to keep avarice sustained.

By Mr. Z (9651), North Sea on Jul 2, 11 11:42 PM
I don't want to sound like i don't care about responsible water use but did this national geographic study specifically cite the east end of LI. Maybe some of you remember last year when this drought was happening that we were just recovering from heavy flooding and abnormally high water tables that caused homes in Riverhead to be condemned and Poxabogue pond to be swollen for months. I don't think it was ever a question of a lack of water in the aquifer, I seem to remember last years article ...more
By greenmonster (13), southampton on Jul 3, 11 10:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
The "water table", is NOT the aquifer.

The aquifer resides FAR deeper underground in most places, than the water table.
By Mr. Z (9651), North Sea on Jul 4, 11 10:32 PM
to Mr. Z:

Were you suggesting booze (aqua vitae) as a substitute for water to relieve the pressure on the aquifer? I'm in!
By highhatsize (3364), East Quogue on Jul 4, 11 10:56 AM
2 members liked this comment
I have always enjoyed your sense of humor. And fortunately, I am not an alcoholic. I learned well what not to do from my father.

Fact remains, it takes time within the reach of thousands of years for the pine barrens to filter water into the aquifer.

Something many have forgotten, or are willfully blind to.
Jul 4, 11 10:05 PM appended by Mr. Z
P.S. Set 'em up, KNOCK 'EM DOWN!
By Mr. Z (9651), North Sea on Jul 4, 11 10:05 PM
#2, Andrew Zaro is in charge of a non-profit aimed at saving the ocean's waters...hahaha. that guy is no dummy. overuse the water, and then get on the board of a group to make sure he's got more water to use...make checks payable to Z-A-R-O, Andrew, please.
By local69 (65), southampton on Jul 11, 11 4:44 PM
Remnants, area rugs, rolls in stock