Port Washington Water District Issues Mandatory Reductions To Irrigation Water Usage


The Port Washington Water District (PWWD) has announced strict water conservation measures that are being put in place to help meet demand during peak usage times. While three supply wells are taken offline to construct new treatment systems, residents within the PWWD must conserve during the hotter months or the District will not be able to meet all of the community’s water needs. The mandatory measures, which have been mailed to each resident, are aimed at reducing water consumed by irrigation systems—the driving force behind a nearly 150 percent increase in water consumption between May and September.

“Since our capacity to deliver water has been impacted with the efforts to treat emerging contaminants, we need our residents to follow stricter water conservation measures,”  Commissioner David R. Brackett said. “Irrigation systems put a significant strain on the distribution system, even when every supply well is operational. The required changes to our irrigation policies will help us overcome these challenges during the peaks of water pumping season.”

A series of significant policy changes have been implemented to help achieve the District’s reduction benchmark. Every resident with an automatic irrigation system must reduce watering on each zone by four minutes as this simple step can reduce water consumption by as much as 20 percent. Mandates have also been placed on the times of day each of the District’s service territories can irrigate. The purpose of this change is to systematically spread out the periods when irrigation systems engage so the system isn’t overwhelmed and can meet demand.

The irrigation zones have been broken up as follows:

  • 7 to 9 p.m. Municipal and commercial properties.
  • 9 to 11 p.m. Manorhaven and Flower Hill West (west of route 101)
  • 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Baxter Estates and Plandome Manor
  • 1 to 3 a.m. Port Washington North and Flower Hill East (east of route (101)
  • 3 to 5 a.m. Port Washington (unincorporated areas)

“We have completed extensive hydraulic modelling of our supply and distribution system and have determined that these reduction and peak demand flattening measures will have a significant impact on our ability meet demand caused by irrigation systems,” PWWD Commissioner Mindy Germain said. “The old saying, ‘It takes a village’ is truly applicable to our current situation. If everyone does their part while we construct these state-of-the-art treatment systems, we can meet the needs of our community and protect and preserve our only water source.

Similar to years past, the District is also requiring all residents to strictly adhere to Nassau County’s Lawn Watering Ordinance, which states that lawn watering is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. In addition, the ordinance stipulates that odd-numbered addresses may only water on odd-numbered days, and even-numbered or non-numbered addresses may only water on even-numbered days.

Residents who manually irrigate their lawns and gardens are being asked to restrict watering to 15-minutes per area with a maximum duration of two hours per day. Those who manually irrigate are also required to follow Nassau County’s Lawn Watering Ordinance.

The installation of smart irrigation controllers are being strongly recommended for any resident with an automatic irrigation system. Smart controllers connect to local WiFi to capture weather data along with other information to more accurately assess the watering needs of lawns and gardens. The District has a rebate program which provides an up to $150 rebate to residents who upgrade from a manual timer to a smart controller.

“Smart controllers are the simplest and most effective way to ensure your landscaping is receiving the proper amount of water while eliminating overuse,” PWWD commissioner Peter Meyer said. “The systems are relatively easy to install and provide the consumer with a host of tools to more-effectively manage the watering of each of their zones. We’ve had one installed at the District headquarters for years and have seen a reduction of more than 30 percent by making the simple switch. This not only saves water, but it will pay for itself within the first year.”

Additional conservation measures residents should take include the installation of a rain sensor and soil moisture sensor if they do not have one already. If a resident has these devices installed, they should make sure they are working properly. It is also important to consistently check irrigation systems for leaks and breaks as they can unknowingly waste thousands of gallons of water. The district also recommends residents consider native and drought-resistant plants for their gardens as well as embracing gardening trends such as xeriscaping.

“The Port Washington Water District would like to thank all of its residents in advance for their cooperation and understanding during this challenging time,” PWWD commissioner Mindy Germain said. “While the compliance with these new regulations may cause an inconvenience, it is imperative that they are followed for the benefit of our entire community.”

For more information on water saving tips and best practices throughout the irrigation season, call 516-767-0171 or visit the Port Washington Water District’s website at http://pwwd.org. Be sure to sign-up for email updates on the District’s homepage to receive additional information about water district activities.

-Submitted by the PWWD