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Aug 18, 2010 11:01 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Suffolk County Water Authority ends water alert

Aug 18, 2010 11:01 AM

The Suffolk County Water Authority announced Tuesday morning that it has rescinded its Stage 1 Water Alert.

Jeff Szabo, chief executive officer for the authority, explained that the alert was called off because of less heat and more rainfall in recent days than in July, when temperatures rose to more than 90 degrees and there was scant rainfall.

“We think the concerns that we had for six to eight weeks have been alleviated,” he said, adding that his agency is still closely monitoring the weather, heat index, levels of precipitation and water consumption.

The warning, which urged Suffolk County residents to voluntarily reduce water consumption, was enacted early last month. Water consumption usage rates skyrocketed to record-breaking levels in July, causing the authority to pump more than half a million gallons daily to keep up with the thirsty East End.

Mr. Szabo said the water authority hit a countywide peak of pumping about 525,000 gallons of water per day from the ground last month. Previously, he named Southampton Village estates as particularly high residential consumers of water.

In Southampton Village and the immediately surrounding areas, customers used an overall average of 19 million gallons per day over the first 10 days of July, with a peak demand of 20.5 million gallons on July 6, the CEO said. In comparison, the first 10 days of August saw an average use of 16.5 million gallons per day in the same area, with a peak of 17.6 gallons hit on August 6, he said.

Mr. Szabo said consumers who scaled back their nonessential usage should not revert to their previous habits.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” he said, adding that there are still about six weeks left of summer and a “long hot streak” remains a possibility. Although the overall demand is down, he said, water consumption still soars between midnight and 6 a.m., when many sprinkler systems are set to turn on.

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