Drought watch issued for 6 CT counties - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Drought watch issued for 6 CT counties

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Water levels in lakes, rivers and streams have dropped during a severe drought. (WFSB photo) Water levels in lakes, rivers and streams have dropped during a severe drought. (WFSB photo)
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -

Six Connecticut counties were placed under a drought watch on Friday and asked residents. 

The state is doing to get a handle on some of the worst drought conditions Connecticut has seen in years. On Friday, the governor's office issued the state’s first-ever drought watch. 

"After three years of precipitation shortfalls, we are moving to a Drought Watch and it would be extremely helpful if residents could be mindful of their water consumption and take sensible steps to help stretch our water supply," Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement on Friday.  

Residents in Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven and Tolland counties were asked to be "mindful of their water consumption and to limit unnecessary water usage when possible."

Water restrictions have been put in place in communities all over the state in recent weeks. On Friday, Malloy urged residents to reduce water use by 15 percent in effected counties. In June, a drought advisory was issued for residents of New London and Windham Counties and they were asked to reduce their usage by 10 percent. 

Malloy's announcement comes a day after the Connecticut Water Planning Council completed a series of public forums for input on the state's first water plan, which has been in the works since the summer. The proposal will focus on ways to manage the state's water resources into the future as well as address the quality and quantity of water for drinking, recreation and agriculture.

The Department of Health has issued a water supply emergency in Waterbury. People who live and work there will have to continue with the outdoor water ban. The city's water department is no longer allowed to add new customers without approval.

The drought has been negatively impacting local businesses, like Roger's Orchard in Southington.

42 thousand fruit trees sit on the land at Roger's Orchard, which dates back to 1809.

"My great, great,great, great, great, great grandfather chauncy merriman planted some baldwin trees right in the area here and we've been growing apples since then," said owner Pete Rogers.

This year's growing season has been a challenge for the business.

"A lot of work for us this year because of the lack of rain and what we are seeing out in the field," said Rogers.

As of Friday afternoon, 20 water companies had given customers "voluntary conservation or imposed mandatory restrictions." To see the full list, click here. 

Though Friday's drought watch was the state's first ever, lower-level Drought Advisories were previously declared in 2002, 2007, 2010, and earlier this year, according to the governor's office. 

According to the governor's office, a drought watch is part two of four stages of the Connecticut Drought Preparedness and Response Plan. To read the full plan, click here

The governor's announcement was made Friday at 12:15 p.m. in the parking lot of the Shuttle Meadow Reservoir in New Britain. To see the full news conference, click here

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