Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to issue a heightened Drought Warning for most of Western New York.
The newly issued Drought Warning includes the following counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Seneca, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates.
The remainder of the State remains under a previously declared Drought Watch.
“Recent rains helped to reduce the severity of drought conditions in the eastern portion of NY. However, much of western NY did not receive large rainfall amounts over the past weekend and continues to experience significant drought conditions with extremely low stream flows and reduced groundwater levels,” Governor Cuomo said. “Residents throughout the state should continue to conserve water whenever possible during the coming months.”
A “warning” is the second 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.
The following are some conservation tips that homeowners can take to reduce their outdoor water usage:
- 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.
For more water saving tips, visit DEC’s webpage.