Farmingville, NY – -On Thursday, August 18, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (second from right) held a press conference to address the current drought and water shortage on Long Island. As the Suffolk County Water Authority’s (SCWA) Center Moriches Water Tower loomed in the background, the Supervisor was joined by SCWA CEO Jeff Szabo (second from left); SCWA Deputy CEO for Operations Joe Pokorny (left) and the Town of Brookhaven Chief Fire Marshal, Chris Mehrman (right), who spoke about the drought’s effect on firefighting and other emergencies. They urged residents to voluntarily undertake water usage/conservation measures to prevent an emergency in the Town of Brookhaven.The SCWA has already declared a “Stage 1 Water Emergency Alert” due to the prolonged hot and dry weather in the towns of Southampton, Southold, East Hampton and Shelter Island. As posted on the SCWA website, residents of those towns must stop all irrigation between the hours of 12:00 am and 7:00 am; refrain from all non-essential water usage, reduce shower times and embrace other water-saving measures indoors. Although the SCWA Stage 1 Water Emergency Alert has not yet been extended to the Town of Brookhaven, it could be imminent due to the sparsity of rainfall in the region.Supervisor Romaine said, “Brookhaven Town is experiencing a severe drought that most of the country is going through and there’s no relief in sight. I urge all Brookhaven residents to follow the Stage 1 Water Emergency Alert guidelines of the Suffolk County Water Authority and make water conservation a number one priority. This drought is a national emergency and if we all cooperate, we can save lives and property in case of fires.”SCWA CEO Jeff Szabo said, “It’s imperative that residents of Brookhaven embrace water conservation in the long-term to ensure the sustainability of the sole-source aquifer that provides all of our drinking water and in the short-term to make sure we have an ample supply of water every day for firefighting and other emergency purposes. The number one thing residents can do right now is water their lawns less often and stop watering completely between midnight and 7 a.m. This will decrease the burden on water infrastructure and ensure there is enough water for everyone.”SCWA Deputy CEO for Operations Joe Pokorny said, “We need everyone to do their part to reduce peak time water usage.”Town of Brookhaven Chief Fire Marshal Christopher Mehrman said, “Unfortunately, during times of such dry conditions, we see an increase in the number of brush and wildland fires. Although our local fire departments are very well prepared to respond to such fires, it is important for those who live and work in the wildland urban interface areas to be alert and prepared to take direction from local law enforcement and fire officials.”Chief Fire Marshal Mehrman also noted that in addition to taking steps to conserve water during this time, it is extremely important for residents, especially those who reside in or adjacent to open space and wooded areas, such as the Pine Barrens (Wildland Urban Interface), to observe basic rules of fire prevention, particularly when utilizing outdoor fireplaces, chimeneas and the like. Although it’s preferable and recommended to refrain from conducting such activities when we are experiencing such dry conditions, it is important to keep such fires small and contained, as well as ensuring there is a charged garden hose or other source of water nearby to extinguish the fire and prevent any unanticipated fire spread.For more water conservation information, please visit the Suffolk County Water Authority website.