On Monday, July 20, at 5:35 a.m., the Suffolk County Water Authority hit an all-time record for the amount of water it has pumped at a given time: 545,726 gallons per minute.
The record-breaking water demand followed Suffolk County Water Authority’s alert Friday evening that asked its customers to reduce their water usage in the face of a prolonged period of heat and humidity. CEO Jeffrey W. Szabo requested that water customers switch to an every-other-day irrigation schedule and refrain from watering their lawns between 3 and 7 a.m., the peak pumping hours.
The new peak water use record toppled the previous record of 524,610 gallons per minute set in July 2016.
“We need cooperation from our customers to make sure that firefighters have sufficient water pressure to battle fires and that hospitals have sufficient water pressure to take care of patients,” Mr. Szabo said in a statement Monday. “We need people to get this message loud and clear — change your watering habits today and help to ensure there is a sufficient water supply for everyone.”
Before Friday evening’s water conservation request to all customers in its service area, Suffolk County Water Authority sent a targeted conservation message last Thursday morning, July 16, to its customers in Southampton Village, citing “unprecedented demand for water” in the area.
Hampton Bays Water District, which is separate from the Suffolk County Water Authority, asked its customers to switch to an odd/even watering schedule starting July 13. That is, residents with an odd house number water their lawns on odd days, and houses with even numbers water on even days.
“We all must take into consideration during the hot, dry months when we are vigorously trying to keep our grass green, that our aquifers, which we all sorely rely on, have no way of recharging themselves without the much needed precipitation,” Hampton Bays Water District Superintendent Rich McCuen wrote in a letter to customers.
Mr. McCuen also noted that last month the utility pumped 44 million gallons of water more than it pumped during June of last year, and the upward trend continues in July.
Long Island experienced moderate drought in June, according to the National Weather Service and dry conditions have continued into July. On Monday this week, a high temperature of 89 degrees and humidity of 63 percent on the South Fork combined for a heat index of 99 degrees.
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