The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, at the recommendation of Governor Andrew Cuomo, has issued a Drought Watch for four areas of New York, including our own.
A “watch” is the first of four levels of state drought advisories (“watch,” “warning,” “emergency,” and “disaster”). 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.
While recent thunderstorm activity has helped moisten the region’s water table, a dry Spring and early Summer has presented the Adirondacks, the Great Lakes Region, the Capital Region and Long Island with a deficit in moisture for the year.
The watch allows state agencies and emergency response advance notice of a developing drought.
According to the DEC, some suggestions on how to conserve water in light of a developing drought includes the following:
- Fix dripping and leaking faucets and toilets. A faucet leaking 30 drops per minute wastes 54 gallons a month;
Raise lawn mower cutting height. Longer grass needs less water;
- If the 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 to save water and improve the lawn’s health;
- Sweep sidewalks and steps rather than hosing them. Eliminating a weekly, five-minute pavement hose-down could save between 625 and 2,500 gallons of water per year depending on the flow rate.