Residents must take conservation charge seriously
The weather is getting warmer by the day, and that means irrigation systems are now online throughout Port Washington. During the summer months, residents’ water demand spikes within the territory of the Port Washington Water District (PWWD) and across Long Island, causing water bills to nearly triple. This year, water pumpage is up 17 percent (or 22.1 million gallons) from last year’s irrigation season, and over half of the water pumped is unfortunately wasted due to inefficient watering practices. The PWWD is here to remind all residents of ways they can cut back on their water use this summer.
“It is vital that residents do all they can to conserve water this summer,” Commissioner David Brackett said. “We typically see a great deal of unnecessary strain on our water source during the warmer months, something which most residents do not realize. There are many simple steps that our neighbors can take to ensure that they are conserving water around their homes and help us avoid or minimize the use of wells impacted by emerging contaminants while treatment systems are being constructed.”
Water conservation is always important for the shoreline community, but especially important while the District tries to manage keeping three wells offline while treatment for emerging contaminants, such as 1,4-dioxane, is being installed. Port Washington being a waterfront community means it is especially susceptible to saltwater intrusion. As more water is pumped, the closer the saltwater/freshwater barrier gets to the wells and once it infiltrates a well, that well has to be abandoned and cannot be used again. Port Washington has no alternate water sources, which is why residents are implored to join in the effort to protect and preserve the community’s sole-source aquifer now so it remains sustainable for future generations.
“There are many ways to conserve water, but the most meaningful action our residents can take is to cut back on irrigation usage,” PWWD Commissioner Peter Meyer said. “Water pumpage skyrockets during the warmer months, more than tripling compared to the winter months and this increase is almost exclusive to irrigation systems. There is an opportunity for our residents to save water, save money; all of which will help us manage our infrastructure and keep these three impacted wells offline as much as possible.”
One significant way to conserve water this summer is by installing a smart irrigation controller. These smart controllers connect to local weather stations and continuously adjust watering schedules based on the forecast. This, in turn, allows the controller to understand how much water the lawn needs, usually one inch of water per week, and cuts down on any unnecessary overwatering. The District’s Smart Controller Rebate program offers rebates of up to $150 for residents who make the switch from a standard to a smart irrigation controller. Earlier this year, the District passed an ordinance that will require all residents with an automatic irrigation system to replace their standard irrigation timer with a smart irrigation controller by January 1, 2025.
“Water waste is a major problem in Port Washington during the summer, especially since many residents may not know that they are wasting water,” Commissioner Mindy Germain said. “Installing a smart controller is the best thing they can do to lessen their demand while also saving themselves a significant amount of money on their third quarter billing. We encourage residents to enroll in our rebate program as soon as possible.”
Port Washington residents are also urged to follow the Nassau County Lawn Watering Ordinances, which provide the optimal times to water your lawn. The ordinance states that even-numbered homes can only water on even-numbered days, and odd-numbered homes can only water on odd-numbered days. Non-numbered homes follow the even-numbered homes schedule. The ordinances also indicate that no lawn watering can be done between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on any day. Additionally, residents can only water their properties at certain times according to the zone in which their property lies. Residents can learn when they are allowed to water by viewing the District’s zone map at www.pwwd.org/conservation/water-conservation.
For more information, including water conservation tips and ways to apply for the Smart Controller Rebate program, please visit www.pwwd.org or call the District at 516-767-0171.
—Submitted by the Port Washington Water District