BRISTOL - Bristol is officially out of the drought.
According to Rob Longo, superintendant of the Bristol Water Department, the reservoirs were at 98 percent capacity as of Thursday morning - which did not include the downpour Thursday brought. The levels had fallen to as low as 40 percent over the winter.
Longo stressed that mandatory water restrictions are still in place, as state protocol for severe droughts calls for cities and towns to maintain a level of 85 percent capacity or more - which was first hit last week in Bristol -for 60 consecutive days. Those restrictions could be partially or fully lifted by the Board of Water Commissioners.
“The timing is playing a factor as to what discretion we have,” Longo said, referring to springtime. “We can remove some things a little earlier. We know it has an impact on our customers.”
The board of water commissioners will next meet April 18, when a decision will be made about the water restrictions. Longo said he will recommend that they are at least partially lifted.
“We could go to the odd/even watering system,” he said.
During that restriction, residents with an odd house number can use outside water sources on odd calendar days and vice versa for those with even house numbers. This is usually put in place during the summer months on a voluntary basis.
Outside uses include watering lawns or gardens, washing cars, filling pools and other nonessential uses.
Mayor Ken Cockayne said Thursday he wants to thank the people of Bristol for cooperating during the drought conditions, which began statewide last June. Bristol issued its first voluntary restrictions on water usage in September, which were later upgraded to mandatory restrictions when conditions did not improve.
“This was a team effort by everyone in Bristol,” Cockayne said. “They saw how dire the drought was and stepped up to the plate.”
Cockayne added that two big snowstorms before temperatures began rising were a big help in getting the reservoirs back to where they need to be. There has also been a lot of rainfall in recent weeks, he said.
Longo added that residents should still conserve water whenever possible.
“We could go back into a drought very quickly without even knowing it,” Longo said.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.