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Despite rains, LI water suppliers keep restrictions

Keep those water hoses coiled and shut off, Long Island.

Sure, rain rolled through Monday and temperatures fell short of the 90-degree mark, but June and July have been dry and hot. In fact, Islip is on track for record warmth in July, averaging 78.7 degrees.

Given the conditions, the Island's major water suppliers aren't ready to relax bans on lawn watering, washing cars and other "nonessential" uses. In many areas, like the East End, restrictions have been in place since early this month, although some folks still aren't listening.

James Gaughran, chairman of the Suffolk County Water Authority, which has 1.2 million customers, said his system is gasping to keep pace with demand and that last week employees saw water from lawn sprinklers puddling in East End streets.

"I mean, that's nonsense," Gaughran said. "People have to cooperate and work with us."

Monday, the authority asked customers in Southampton to water lawns from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. rather than overnight. Normally, daytime watering is frowned on, but officials said night demand has been so high, usage must be spread out.

Some areas, like Riverhead and the Town of Hempstead, which includes six water districts with 36,000 customers, are asking those with even-numbered addresses to water only on even-numbered days, and those with odd-numbered addresses only on odd-numbered days.

But others, like the Jericho Water District, which has more than 18,000 customers, and Long Island American Water, with 75,000 customers in southwest Nassau, still want people to refrain from watering altogether.

A period of moderate temperatures and prolonged rain is needed, water officials say. That isn't likely to happen Tuesday. A high in the mid-80s is in the forecast and there's a 30 percent chance of rain Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service.

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