The New York Department of Environmental Conservation announced on Wednesday that much of central and western New York were being upgraded from a Drought Watch to a Drought Warning. The move was executed at direction of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
A “warning” is the second of four levels of state drought advisories. There are no statewide mandatory water use restrictions in place under a drought watch or warning but citizens are strongly encouraged to voluntarily conserve water. Local public water suppliers may impose water use restrictions depending upon local needs and conditions.
The counties listed in the Drought Warning include: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Seneca, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said of the warning that, “While there are no mandated water use restrictions in place we do encourage the public to do their part to conserve water by taking some fairly simple steps. Minor changes in everyday practices can go a long way in helping to prevent any increased drought levels.”
The DEC advises taking the following steps to reduce water usage where possible by executing the following:
- Fix dripping and leaking faucets and toilets.
- A faucet leaking 30 drops per minute wastes 54 gallons a month.
- Raise your lawn mower cutting height. Longer grass needs less water.
- If your community allows watering, water lawns and gardens on alternate mornings instead of every day. Less frequent watering will develop grass with deeper roots, and early morning watering minimizes evaporation.
- When using automatic lawn watering systems, override the system in wet weather or use a rain gauge to control when and how much water to use. A fixed watering schedule wastes water. Irrigate only when needed. It saves water and can actually improve your lawn’s health.
- Sweep sidewalks and steps rather than hosing them. Eliminating a weekly 5-minute pavement hose-down could save between 625 and 2500 gallons of water per year depending on the flow rate.
Recently, the City of Ithaca noted that unless a major rainfall event was recorded in the coming weeks – there would be a serious water problem within 30 days. While residents would likely not feel the impact of that water shortage, it would put serious stress on the surrounding areas, as a shared service solution would be necessary.
The weather outlook over the next week does not look very favorable for the soaking, lengthy type of rain event, which is desperately needed. The rains that have been felt in recent weeks have helped certain areas, but due to those rains coming via summer thunderstorms, the rainfall is short-lived.
More on the drought gripping the FLX:
– Western New York placed under drought warning by New York DEC
– Drought warning issued for western New York
– State issues Drought Warning for much of CNY
– Drought warning issued in Western NY, Finger Lakes; water conservation urged
– ‘Not out of the woods yet’; Tompkins Health Dept. urges continued water conservation
Check out the entire local forecast from FingerLakes1.com here.