March 17 2017 03:00 AM

In Stamford, Connecticut, landscape designer Jay Nathans is worried about the coming spring, and how continued water restrictions will affect his business. “This concerns everyone within our field,” he said. “If we plan a design, even if it’s ready to be installed, it won’t get done so long as we have a watering ban.”

Four towns in southwestern Connecticut have been under a regional water supply emergency since it was first declared by the local water supply company, Aquarion, back in October. In Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and New Canaan, landscape irrigation has been banned, with the exception of drip irrigation, soaker hoses and hand watering.

The emergency measure came up for renewal recently, and while Aquarion decided to loosen restrictions slightly, landscape irrigation is currently still on lockdown. “We need an inch of rainfall a week just to stay on average, and there is none in the forecast,” said the company’s director of supply operations, Jeff Ulrich. “This is scary to us.” The reservoirs are 68 percent full, compared to the 88 percent that is typical this time of year.

In a meeting to address the ban’s effect on the local green industry, Stamford Mayor David Martin called on the state to step in and construct drought regulations for everyone. “The state needs to form a task force for irrigation and landscaping,” he said. “We have to work together in regulating irrigation and landscaping policies across the towns.”

Martin is hoping that contractors who attended the forum will step up to the plate as local experts. “I don’t pretend that I know exactly how to enforce regulations,” he said. “We are depending upon your voluntary efforts to educate your consumers.” At least one contractor, Oscar Melchor, described the forum as educational.

Melchor, who co-owns Turning Green, LLC, in neighboring Norwalk, offers maintenance services and he is not concerned. “I don’t think it will affect my business,” he said. “What we are doing is good for the environment.”