DEC issues drought watch for four New York regions

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sprinklers spray on plants

Sprinklers spray water on plants at a commercial nursery in Alabama in 2019. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday that the Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a Drought Watch for four regions of New York:

  • Long Island
  • The Upper Hudson/Mohawk area
  • The Adirondacks
  • Tthe Great Lakes/St. Lawrence area

“The recent wave of extreme heat has caused a developing drought in several parts of the state and without adequate rain, conditions could worsen,” Cuomo said. “Take steps to conserve water whenever possible until the advisory is lifted to help prevent a more severe shortage.”

Although no statewide water use limits are in place under a watch or warning, New Yorkers ought to voluntarily conserve. Municipal water suppliers may impose their own restrictions depending upon local conditions.

A watch is the first level of drought advisory, followed by “warning,” “emergency,” and then “disaster.” Watches and warnings are triggered by the State Drought Index, reflecting precipitation, reservoir/lake levels, and streamflow and groundwater levels in New York.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos issued the watch after consulting with drought management experts. “While the watch is just the first stage, it gives New York State agencies and emergency response advanced notice of a developing drought,” he says. “Minor changes in your everyday routine can go a long way in helping prevent increased drought levels.”

To reduce water usage

  • Fix drips and leaks in faucets and toilets
  • Raise lawn mower height, as shorter grass is thirstier
  • Alternate lawn and garden water schedules
  • Water when there’s minimal heat and sun to prevent evaporation
  • Irrigate only when needed, and turn off automatic sprinklers
  • Sweep sidewalks and steps rather than hosing them down

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