Bristol buying water earlier than normal amid drought - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Bristol buying water earlier than normal amid drought

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The Bristol Reservoir is extremely low, forcing the city to buy water earlier in the season (WFSB) The Bristol Reservoir is extremely low, forcing the city to buy water earlier in the season (WFSB)

The drought is reaching historic proportions for Bristol, where officials say water levels there are the lowest they've been in 60 years.

On Wednesday, the city announced they'll be buying water from New Britain.

It's something they do each year, but with levels being critical, it's happening one month earlier.

Like thousands in Bristol, and across the state, Jude Desjardins has faithfully been conserving water.

In Bristol, officials are pleased to announce consumption has gone down by more than 30 percent, but one look at the reservoir that serves the city, and the mayor is worried.

“The 30 percent was huge, it was a great number, but it's not enough. We need more,” Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne said.

The city will buy a quarter million gallons from New Britain, each day started in December, and half a million gallons starting in January.

It’s something they do each year, bound by a contract, but it usually doesn’t happen so soon in the season.

“The water we get from New Britain is actually treated, so we get it from a pump station and it goes into our water mains,” said Bristol Water Superintendent Robert Longo.

Like many towns in New England, New Britain is suffering too. The Hardware City just bought water from The Metropolitan District.

“We don't want to take from one neighboring municipality that can't afford to give it to us, so once they were able to work out their agreement with MDC and get the water, they needed, they were able to get the water we needed as well,” Longo said.

With some rain in the forecast, officials don't want anyone to be fooled by the brief reprieves of snow and rain we saw earlier this week. In fact, they say it only made up "half a percent" of the shortage. 

“Just because we get an inch of rain, doesn't mean it's going to get us out of the drought restrictions,” Longo said.

The city has gotten even more aggressive, asking residents today to get creative by taking shorter showers, not washing their car, even switching to paper plates to avoid doing dishes.

Since the mandatory water restriction went into effect in the summer, they've issued 300 to 400 complaints and even shut off the water for one repeat offender.

“Their water was terminated for 24 hours and they got a better understanding of it,” Longo said.

Officials monitor the forecast and are checking levels daily, but they say they need long-term soaking rain and even a snowy winter to make a dent in what we're seeing here.

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