Drought Recovery- Think Snow!
With persistent hot, dry weather this summer, river flows in the Pomperaug River reached the third and final trigger in the Low-Flow Operations Plan adopted last summer. The photos below of the Pomperaug River at Ewald Park in Southbury highlight how low flows were (below 7 cfs) during Threshold III conditions.
As called for in the Low-Flow Plan, when the river reaches this threshold Connecticut Water Company, Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition and the Town of Southbury coordinated a strong request to residents, businesses and public agencies in the Pomperaug River Basin to voluntarily increase their water conservation efforts to protect flows to sustain important wildlife habitat and aquifer recharge in the river.
Just as the river levels dropped this summer, so did the water table. Similar conditions were experienced throughout the state which led to drought advisories issued on a county by county basis.
While recent rain has brought some relief to rivers in the watershed and surrounding areas, aquifers and reservoirs are still recovering. The winter season is an important time for this recovery, with snow providing a slow melt that naturally infiltrates into the soil which recharges groundwater and raises the water table replenishing drinking water supplies.
Although the Pomperaug River Low-Flow Plan focuses on the important aquatic bioperiod that spans July - October, PRWC continues to monitor stream flows in the watershed throughout the year. Check out the Water Watch page on our website to see real-time streamflow data recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) gauging stations on the Pomperaug, Nonnewaug, and Weekeepeemee Rivers. You may also view precipitation measured at the Weekeepeemee River gage and check out the current water table level that is tracked at a monitoring well station in Southbury.