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Most well levels up, but not enough

REPORTER FILE PHOTO The man behind the numbers is Ken Pysher who captures water level data from the United States Geological Survey and plots it for his colleagues on the Water Advisory Committee.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO
The man behind the numbers is Ken Pysher who captures water level data from the United States Geological Survey and plots it for his colleagues on the Water Advisory Committee.

The March readings of well water levels provided to Shelter Island by the United States Geological Survey show higher readings for 10 of 13 test wells, with the Brander and Menantic wells still moving down from last month’s readings.
But before Islanders too giddy about the improvement in the 10 wells from the February readings, Ken Pysher, who compiles the data for the town’s Water Advisory Committee, wants them to know that 11 of the 13 test wells are still down when compared with typical March readings calculated over the last several years.

Two wells — Brander Parkway at Lilliput Lane and Menantic Road at Evans Road are down from February 2014 readings and the well at Ferry and Congdon roads is unchanged from February.

“April showers will be welcomed,” Mr. Pysher said.

Those wells that showed higher water levels are Manhanset, north of Cobbetts Lane; Rocky Point Avenue, Big Ram Island, Manwaring Road at Route 114; Deer Park Lane; Little Ram Island; Dering Harbor Village; Hay Beach; Shelter Island Heights; and Shorewood.

What the committee had hoped to see was a significant increase this month in well levels resulting from  melting snow and ice. But not all of that water drains into the aquifer. Some of it ends up as runoff in the waters surrounding Shelter Island.

Typically, once the weather warms and the population increases as visitors trek to the Island, whatever recharge to the aquifer has happened in early spring months stops and, instead, there is a drain to water resources as a result of increased use.

While no action has yet been recommended, WAC chairman John Hallman has said in recent months that sometime in May, the committee may be recommending to the Town Board that it implement a water rationing program for the summer months.

j.lane@sireporter.com