Record water usage was recorded in Suffolk County Friday, as...

Record water usage was recorded in Suffolk County Friday, as people continued to water their lawns. Credit: Photo by Joseph D. Sullivan

As hot weather continued to bake Long Island, Suffolk County Water Authority water usage reached an all-time peak Friday morning - 500,000 gallons per minute - beating last week's heat wave usage of 480,000 gallons per minute, the agency said.

Many of Long Island's water suppliers said Friday that restrictions on nonessential outdoor uses will remain in place as they face heavy demand and more hot, dry weather forecast through the end of next week.

"We have 560 wells pumping. Two-thirds are pretty much pumping 24/7," said Suffolk County Water Authority chief executive Jeff Szabo. "The system is working hard, but we're holding firm."

Since July 5, the water authority, which has 1.2 million customers, has been on a Stage 1 alert, asking residents - particularly on the East End - to stop all nonessential use, such as lawn watering.

In last week's heat wave, districts across the Island asked customers to refrain from watering lawns and washing vehicles. Officials Friday said usage since then has not let up and was only slightly abated by rainfall in some areas on Wednesday and Thursday.

Not all residents are heeding the requests, and officials in some districts said they would continue to visit noncompliers and remind them of the restrictions.

"We can monitor it from our plant. If we see people watering, we do ask them to stop," said Lendel Jones, spokeswoman for Long Island American Water, which serves 75,000 customers in southwestern Nassau and has also asked customers to refrain from all nonessential water use. "We're hoping that people will curtail their water use and start letting the tanks refill themselves so that we don't run out of water if there's a fire."

There are more than 50 public, independent and private water districts on Long Island. Other districts maintaining their water restrictions include the Jericho Water District, with more than 18,000 customers; and the Greenlawn Water District, which serves 42,000.

On a typical summer day, Greenlawn sees an average use of 9 million gallons, said district commissioner John McLaughlin. Since last week, its usage has spiked to 17 million gallons nearly every day, he said.

Driving around the district, however, he said, he can see signs that homeowners are doing their part.

"Everything is getting a little browner than normal," he said.

In Nassau County, water district officials said they will continue to remind homeowners of a county law that bars watering between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and calls for homes with odd street numbers to water on odd days of the month, and vice versa.

Last week, the Town of Hempstead dropped a recent ban on nonessential uses but urged the 36,000 customers in its six water districts to follow the county ordinance. Riverhead officials are asking residents to voluntarily follow a similar odd-even watering system.

Know the regulations 

  • Water districts continuing restrictions on all nonessential water use - such as lawn watering and car washing: Suffolk County Water Authority, Long Island American Water, Jericho Water District and Greenlawn Water District. 
  • Nassau County law prohibits watering between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and calls for homes with odd street numbers to water on odd days of the month, and vice versa.
  • Riverhead is asking residents to follow a similar odd-even watering system.

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