SCWA had issued the emergency for the East End and then all of its customers as a severe drought gripped the region, stressing the county’s public water system as residents increased how much they watered their lawns in the early morning hours to make up for the lack of rain, ignoring officials’ requests to stagger irrigation times and conserve water.
“What happened this summer should be a wake-up call for Suffolk residents to reduce water use in their daily lives,” said SCWA Chairman Patrick Halpin. “This was a particularly bad summer, but peak hours have been a problem for years. We appreciate those who listened, but the truth is, we did not get enough cooperation from our customers. We were, frankly, lucky that we didn’t have a major fire during a time in which water pressure was dangerously low.”
Although the area saw more rainfall in the month of September, it was nearly an inch below average and the U.S. Drought Monitor maintained most of Suffolk and Long Island was still in a severe drought as recently as September 29.