The recent heat wave has prompted Governor Cuomo to issue a drought watch for the Adirondacks, Long Island, the Upper Hudson/Mohawk area, and the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence area. Here’s what this means for you.
How You Can Help Prevent the Drought From Advancing
Adirondack residents are being asked to conserve water during this drought watch. Here are some of the suggested tips for water conservation indoors and out from the State and DEC:
- Fix dripping and leaking faucets and toilets.
- Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth, washing up, shaving, and washing dishes.
- Only wash full loads of dishes and laundry.
- Take shorter showers or fill the bathtub only halfway.
- Raise lawn mower cutting height (longer grass needs less water).
- For communities that allow watering, water lawns and gardens on alternate mornings instead of daily.
- For those 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.
- Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants to save soil moisture.
- Sweep sidewalks and steps instead of hosing them down.
- Use a pool cover (reduces water loss from evaporation).
- Wash cars less frequently.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement that while the watch is just the first stage it’s significant that we have this advanced notice of a developing drought, and that we act accordingly. “We can all do our part conserving water now by taking some simple steps,” he said. “Minor changes in your everyday routine can go a long way in helping prevent increased drought levels.”
Indeed, according to the EPA, for instance, a standard top-loading washing machine uses 37.8 gallons of water per load. Think of how much water you could save – and how many fewer loads you’ll have to do – if you only wash full loads.
What a Drought Watch Means
A watch is the first of four levels of state drought advisories, the other three being warning, emergency, and disaster. At this stage, there are no mandatory water use restrictions in place, but New Yorkers are being encouraged to follow the above recommendations.
The drought watch is triggered by the State Drought Index which goes off of data relating to precipitation, lake and reservoir levels, stream flow, and more. When a drought watch is declared water suppliers begin to conserve water and urge customers to do so as well.