By CLAIRE GALVIN
Chronicle Staff Writer
STORRS â€” The University of Connecticut Extension is asking people to conserve water in their homes and businesses as part of a challenge to promote conservation.
The 40-Gallon Challenge is a national initiative for residents, schools, farmers, businesses and more to conserve 40 gallons of water per day per person.
The initiative began in Georgia and Texas, where there are currently a combined 6,000 pledges. In Connecticut, there are only 14 pledges. The UConn Extension will launch its outreach efforts Friday at the Big E in Springfield, Mass.
The extension will offer pledge forms and water-saving materials at the fair.
The UConn Extension is an outreach program of the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Sciences.
The Extension gives the public access to research-based information and programs in a wide variety of fields.
Participants of the challenge pledge to take on indoor and outdoor water-saving activities.
The most common commitments are reducing field irrigation run times by two minutes (saves 80 gallons), using a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks (saves 22 gallons) and fixing a leaky toilet (saves 30 gallons).
Other common methods of water conversation include: replacing an old showerhead with a new low-flow shower head (saves 20 gallons) and reducing shower time by two minutes (saves 5 gallons).
The challenge comes at the same time UConn has reached the trigger point of pumping water from the Fenton River, one of the universityâ€™s main sources of water.
The university stops pumping water when it reaches that point.
A section of the Fenton River was previously completely dry in September 2005.
Overall, however, drought levels are much better than they were in recent years.
One year ago, 100 percent of the state was considered abnormally dry, according to the United States Drought Monitor. Now, 18 percent of the state is abnormally dry.
To sign up for the challenge, visit www.40gallonchallenge.org and fill out a pledge card.