Due to prolonged dry weather conditions and heavy consumer demand, on Tuesday Suez Water Rhode Island and the Towns of Narragansett and South Kingstown are now under a full outdoor water ban.
The ban, which went into effect immediately, will continue until further notice.
Any violation of this ban could result in termination of services, according to the announcement sent out by Suez Water Rhode Island, though neither South Kingstown nor Narragansett included such strong language in the press releases they shared with community members.
The full outdoor water ban will affect Suez Water system customers, the Town of South Kingstown South Shore and Middle Bridge water system customers, and all water system customers in the town of Narragansett.
According to South Kingstown Public Services Director Jon Schock, “because of the hot weather and an influx of seasonal residents and tourists, the three water utilities were having difficulty recovering and keeping the water storage tanks at a proper level.”
The tanks help to provide pressure to the water customers, shave off spikes in demand and fire protection, “so it’s important that we try to keep those water storage tanks, all three utilities, full to the greatest extent possible,” Schock added.
Outdoor water use, especially sprinkler systems, can put a drain on local water supplies. During these weather conditions, commonplace activities like watering the lawn or taking an outdoor shower after a trip to the beach can put public health and safety at risk.
“We can’t run out of water,” Schock said. “We simply have to be able to keep water for essential uses, and nonessential uses are going to have to wait until the weather changes and we get some precipitation, or the demand drops off because the summer season is over.”
“We don’t know how long it’s going to last,” he added.
Like most summers, water customers were already subject to prohibitions on outdoor water this year. Odd and even outdoor water use for Monday through Friday, and full bans on the weekend have been almost standard practice for years.
Over the past three decades, Schock said he can only remember a handful of times when there hasn’t been some type of outdoor water restriction. During that time span, to the best of Schock’s memory, there have only been two or three full outdoor water bans.
Although this is an inconvenience, Schock said he hopes residents understand the necessity and importance of this ban. In Narragansett, according to Town Engineer Jonathan Gerhard, the ban has already improved conditions in just a few short days.
In addition to the full outdoor water ban, customers are being encouraged to use water wisely. Conservation kits are available for free for Town of Narragansett customers.
This ban does not affect Kingston Water District customers.