10/31/22 Re: “Why I declared a water emergency”, by Mayor Harry Rilling, 10/9/22 My rebuttal:
We most certainly experienced drought conditions this summer, here in Norwalk and across large swaths of the country. Everyone knows it. But most curious is why our Mayor so vehemently dismisses increased development in our City as a factor. To suggest that new construction and development in our City—at a pace that wildly outstrips such construction and development in most other cities and towns around us—is NOT AT ALL a factor, is quite frankly a ridiculous claim to make.
It’s good to know we’ve decreased our water demand through repairs to leaky pipes (although that makes many of us wonder why they were allowed to leak so much and for so long in the first place), and we all know that appliances have become more and more efficient over time. However, with every new apartment we allow to be built in Norwalk, let alone their larger properties, there is additional water usage. Are we renting these new apartments to unknown creatures who don’t shower, flush their toilets, cook or clean or even brush their teeth? Do not the owners of these developments need large amounts of water to keep them operating?
The fact that our current sewage treatment infrastructure is so inadequate that we’re deliberately pumping raw sewage into the Norwalk River should be a red flag to our over-development (but we’ll save that for another day). We’ll also save for discussion the impact such over-development is having on our traffic throughout Norwalk.
The number of recently-built or newly-proposed residential apartment buildings in Norwalk is not an easy number to pin down. For some context, 2,500 apartments house on average two residents—a conservative estimate. So that’s 5,000 showers a day, and perhaps 10,000 flushes. Another conservative estimate on water usage puts a typical shower at 17 gallons, and a modern toilet requiring 1.6 gallons to refill after flushing. Simple math tells us that 2,500 new apartments in Norwalk require over 100,000 gallons of water, just for these two basic necessities, EVERY DAY! Again, without brushing our teeth or watering the plants around the property.
Again, the shortage of rainfall this year is not in question. However, going immediately to the altar of “global warming”, when only half of our small State has been impacted by dry conditions, is both phony and disingenuous. There’s no “full stop” to that conversation just because you say so. The NOAA National Integrated Drought Information System has classified the Western half of Connecticut as
“Abnormally Dry”, but none of the communities that surround us has declared a “water emergency.” Could it be that the wild over-development in our City is ABSOLUTELY a factor, Mr. Mayor?