Westport, Connecticut residents are going to be facing some watering restrictions in the new year. Citing an ‘ongoing precipitation deficit,’ the Aquarion Water Company, the city’s water provider, has imposed a two-day limit on the use of both in-ground irrigation systems and above- ground sprinklers starting in January. But some residents are questioning the rationale behind these restrictions.

The water conservation program is part of an agreement approved by the Connecticut Department of Public Health. The aim is to conserve enough water to allow a reduction in the size of proposed new water tanks. Those tanks are a source of controversy, however. Westport residents oppose the restrictions, and the tanks, because the proposal for them factored in an increase in overall water usage.

According to Aquarion, water consumption in Westport is well above average, saying that customers use an average of 124 gallons of water per day. That’s much higher than the 83 gallons per day used on average by customers across Aquarion’s 51-town service area.

“Aquarion must be clear on its agenda for Westport,” said First Selectman Jim Marpe. “I know that Westport residents will be willing to do their part to conserve water if our local supply is truly vulnerable. However, if we are looking at two new water tanks that take into account an increase in water usage, Aquarion must be forthcoming with its calculations.”

“We need to understand the relationship between having another public utility structure in town with the requirement to reduce water utilization.”

The new restrictions apply to the 2018 watering season. Marpe stated that the company, not the town, will be responsible for enforcing them.

Some residents may qualify for a variance from the restrictions. If new sod or plantings have been installed, more frequent watering would be allowed until they’re properly established.

In January, Aquarion will conduct a series of public presentations to explain its rationale concerning the tanks and the irrigation limits.