Drought 2016: An Open Letter from FRWA Board President

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Dear FRWA Supporters,

Deborah Leonard, artist and FRWA board member, dedicated this painting to water conservation awareness. Learn more about Deborah at deborahleonardart.com
Deborah Leonard, artist and FRWA board member, dedicated this painting to water conservation awareness. Learn more about Deborah at deborahleonardart.com

It has been a long hot dry summer, followed by a spectacular warm dry fall. We could not have asked for a better stretch of weather, or could we? I want to share with you my personal experience over the past several weeks. Not long ago I awoke on a Friday morning to find that I was completely out of water. Not a drop from any faucet in the house.

After having my well system looked at, I hoped it was something simple, I was informed that my well had run dry and that my options were a hydrofrack or a new well. Two weeks later the hydrofrack took place and the following morning 2300 gallons of water had disappeared. A complete and total failure as the water table has dropped so significantly that the water seeped back into the earth.

As I write this, I am now on a waiting list to have a new well drilled. Drillers are presently booked out months in advance and their clients are doing what I am doing, hauling water in rain barrels, pumping it into their systems, showering and doing laundry at neighbor’s homes who are on city water. I am told by people in the water business that they have never seen it this bad.  What I realized in all of this is how few people have any recognition that we are in a severe drought. When I describe my experience, people look at me incredulously and tell me they had no idea. Frankly unless you drive by a reservoir, a river or a lake there is no indication that we are in such dire straits.

At the monthly FRWA meetings we discuss the issue regularly but until it hits home you truly have no idea. I am now living day to day, hoping to be able to flush the toilet, possibly wash a dish or two or get a drink. Life has completely changed and what I once took for granted, fresh clean running water, has become a luxury.

Now is the time for public awareness! Now is the time for everyone to recognize the need for conservation! This can start at home.

  • Don’t let water run while you brush your teeth or wash your face.
  • Cut down on your time in the shower ( an eight minute shower uses over 18 gallons of water).
  • Check for leaky or running toilets.
  • Follow the saying “ if it’s yellow just be mellow, if it’s brown flush it down”. Even the most efficient toilets use 1.6 gallons a flush. Think of that in terms of a gallon and a half container of milk or cider you might carry from the store. It’s a lot of liquid.
  • Invest in rain barrels. They hold 50 gallons of liquid and had I not had them I would not have been able to move the 400 gallons of city water I needed to keep the house running.
  • Stop watering the gardens and lawns…why do that at this time of year to begin with, yet I see it all the time.
  • Stop washing your car! There are a myriad of small steps that everyone can take to preserve and conserve this precious resource that we all take for granted.
  • Last and not least, spread the word. People who are not suffering or who are not directly impacted are not going to be concerned. I am as guilty of this as anyone and I should have known better. Look at pictures of the local water systems or better yet take a drive by the Farmington River and look at its levels. It’s shocking.

We are lucky and blessed to live in the Northeast and water, for the most part, has always been in plentiful supply. How times have changed!

Regards, David Donaldson, Jr.
FRWA Board President