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Water use outpaces Connecticut average

Hoa Nguyen
Staff Writer

March 20, 2004

Greenwich households not only use more water than other households in the state, they also are using more water than they have in past decades, said researchers and conservation officials who have tracked water usage since the 2002 drought.

Greenwich's growing water needs conflict with U.S. Geological Survey figures released last week, which show that nationally, water use has remained relatively stable, even declining from highs of 25 years ago.

"Nationwide there have been a lot of conservation measures put in place," Greenwich Conservation Commissioner Denise Savageau said.

The USGS report, which is released every five years, showed that in 2000, Americans used 408 billion gallons of water a day, about 32 billion gallons less than in 1980.

"Now we're having it replaced by irrigation for lawns," Savageau said.

Town residents, especially those who live on several acres of property, use more water than the typical household in the state, according to the soon-to-be published report from the USGS.

A typical household in Connecticut uses 200 gallons of water a day, said John Mullaney, an East Hartford-based USGS hydrologist who worked on the report.

In Greenwich, the median water use among people who live on half-acre or smaller lots is 219 gallons a day per household, Mullaney said, adding that the data came from the Aquarion Water Co. Those who live on a 4-acre or larger lot have a median use of 1,082 gallons a day per household.

"In more affluent areas, although you have a high number of water-saving devices, you have more water uses," said David Medd, Aquarion's operations manager.

Much of Greenwich's water use is for external purposes, such as for pools and lawns, he said.

Copyright 2004, Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc.