Rockland nurseries say affected by county water restrictions

Most people can go a few days without watering their lawn, but Celetti Nursery relies entirely on being able to do so twice a day.

“I am very nervous. I am very scared,” says manager Tina Ceretti Ostrander.

It was a trying summer for Celetti-Ostrander. The lack of rain last month has hurt her ability to sell her plants.

“It’s tough because you have to water twice a day just to keep the plants viable,” says Celetti-Ostrander.

Water usage restrictions require nurseries to apply a water conservation plan to reduce water usage by 10%.

Celetti-Ostrander relies on underground drainage systems to absorb excess water and redistribute it to plants. But it’s not a long term solution.

Her business needs rain.

Rockland environmental health officials fear continued dry conditions could lead to tougher mandates.

“We don’t want to end up in a Stage 3 drought, where we’re not allowed to water the lawn at all,” said Sam Rulli, director of Rockland Environmental Health.

County officials say the next four to five weeks are likely to be tough and they will determine if a tougher order is needed.

But for Celetti-Ostrander and business owners like her, each day without rain is worrisome and slow to trouble.

County officials respond to reports of violations and can impose fines of $2,000 per day for each violation.

They also warned that next month will be critical. One official said he believes the county will reach a higher water emergency level by the end of the month.

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