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Riverhead calls for reduced lawn watering until September

Sean Walter, Riverhead Town Supervisor gives the State

Sean Walter, Riverhead Town Supervisor gives the State of the Town address at the Birchwood of Polishtown restaurant, Riverhead, March 2, 2016 Credit: Daniel Goodrich

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter is asking residents and business owners to cut back on watering lawns through the next month after high temperatures gripped Long Island this week.

Walter said in a news release this week that the Riverhead Water District has implemented an odd-even-day lawn-watering schedule. He said that even though the heat wave has technically ended and there is a break in the moderate drought conditions of the past few months, water production is “running to 100 percent capacity” so restrictions are still needed.

Walter said he is asking residents and business owners to cooperate, but fines will not be imposed for violations. He said he expects the alternate-day watering plan to be in effect through the end of August “if the summer continues the way it has been.”

Brian Ciemnecki, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service at Upton, said the successive lower than average rainfall amounts measured at Upton — the official climate site for Long Island — started in March and continued into June, he said.

“July has had 4.6 inches of rain so far at Islip and we’re actually above normal, which is 3.76 inches,” Ciemnecki said.

But Ciemnecki and Walter said residents shouldn’t think the water situation has rebounded.

“You also have to look at the way it falls,” Ciemnecki said of the rain. He noted there have been pop-up thunderstorms this month that don’t provide the type of water replenishment that’s needed. “You need a steady rain.”

Walter said water use still needs to be minimized with more than a month of summer temperatures ahead. “Water use doubles during hot spells,” he said in a news release.

The odd-even water schedule for business and residential properties asks those properties with addresses that end in an even number to water on even-numbered calendar days and those with addresses that end in an odd number to water on odd-numbered days.

Water district customers are asked to refrain from watering their lawns between midnight and 8 a.m. and are urged to water only in the early evening hours up until midnight.

Smithtown officials, citing high temperatures, on Thursday sent an alert to residents asking them to avoid watering lawns between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m.

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