East Lyme enacts weekend water use restrictions

East Lyme — The Board of Selectmen voted Wednesday to enact water conservation methods that will be in effect on weekends, beginning this Friday, until further notice.

From 9 a.m. on Fridays to noon on Mondays, residents will not be allowed to water their lawns, wash cars or driveways, and fill or clean swimming pools, except for small wading pools, according to the ordinance. Restaurants are prohibited from serving glasses of water to customers unless specifically asked.

Violators will be fined no more than $99, according to the water conservation notice.

The town anticipates it will lift the conservation methods later in the summer, since it is nearing completion on a regional interconnection project that will transfer water between New London and East Lyme to help alleviate the town’s summertime water shortages.

“The regional interconnection is substantially complete, but we at least anticipate another three weeks or so before we are fully operational,” said the town’s utility engineer Brad Kargl at a public hearing Wednesday on the measures.

Although June was a dry month, upcoming rainstorms could potentially alleviate the need for the measures, he said.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection requires the town to turn off some town wells if stream levels fall below a certain level during the dry summer months.

The original contract for the interconnection project had stipulated that East Lyme had to first bank water in New London’s reservoir before drawing from the supply in the summer. But the communities now have an understanding in place that will allow them to transfer water and test the system this summer.

East Lyme could potentially send water to New London during the weekdays and then draw it back to alleviate weekend water shortages, said First Selectman Paul Formica.

k.drelich@theday.com

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