skip to Main Content

Why I declared a water emergency

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?

Greg Helms

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Thanks for writing this important and much needed rebuttal, Greg. The following partial list of apartment complexes (and the astounding number of new dwelling units) built in Norwalk in recent years certainly corroborates the accuracy of your rebuttal. As the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue might say; “This is not a joke folks!!!”


    Address #Units
    The Waypointe 515 West Avenue 662
    The Berkeley at Waypointe 30 Orchard St 69
    The Curb Building A 150 Glover Ave 232
    The Curb Building B 200 Glover Ave 235
    The Curb Building C 170 Glover Ave 294
    1 Glover Glover Ave 132
    The Beacon 10 Willard Road 219
    The Confluence Belden Ave 311
    Halstead Norwalk 8 Norden Place 240
    597 Westport Apartments 597 Westport Ave 235
    The Sheffield SoNo 55 N Water 136
    Shirt Factory Lofts Crescent St 122
    Brim & Crown 230 East Ave 189
    Soundview Landing 20 Day Street 345
    Harborside SoNo 123 Water St 129
    Iron Works SoNo 1 N Water St 129
    Total 3679

    SoNo Metro 1 Chestnut St 122
    The Pinnacle at Waypointe West Avenue 393
    North Seven Glover Avenue 1,303
    Total 1,818

  2. Thank you for this. Very concerning issue that really makes you think . From the research I saw and the article that was published on NON in 2020 several new developments were listed as the biggest water users. We all want smart conservation but we want smart development too. We need to ensure that developments are not impeding on quality of life and every day issues for residents. Surrounding towns did not declare the same concerns?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *