ALBANY – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a Drought Watch for the Southern Tier of Western New York.
Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday issued the directive to NYSDEC after consulting with the State Drought Management Task Force and federal agencies. The issuance was based on the lack of rain his year, noting that recent rainfall hasn’t been enough to completely eliminate the dry conditions. Residents are encouraged to conserve water whenever possible, especially those who depend on private groundwater wells.
“Local water restrictions and educating residents about how to help conserve our water resources will be crucial steps to help prevent a more severe shortage should conditions worsen.” said Governor Hochul.
A Watch is the first of four levels of State drought advisories issued by the DEC; Watch, Warning, Emergency, and Disaster, based on the The State Drought Index. The Index reflects precipitation levels, reservoir and lake levels, stream flow, and groundwater levels, and each are assigned a weighted value based on its significance to various uses in a particular region.
According to the DEC and the United States Geological Survey, New York State has seen the development of dry conditions over the past three months due to below-average precipitation, with deficits of two to six inches over the past 90 days, leading to low streamflows, and low groundwater levels. These issues prompted the need for action to ensure adequate water supplies. Groundwater levels have also been declining and are not expected to improve in the immediate future due to the existing rain deficit. Local public water suppliers are urged to assess the current situation, promote voluntary conservation, and take appropriate actions.
NYSDEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Conserving water is important all year long, but particularly during extended dry periods like we are experiencing now.”
Seggos went on to say the DEC will continue to monitor water conditions across the state throughout the summer and address the short-term water issues and impacts.
As of Thursday, July 28, 2022, much of New York State remains in a “D0 Abnormally Dry” condition on the US Drought Monitor, updated by NOAA and the National Drought Mitigation Center, with areas of a “D1 Moderate Drought” across Western New York and the Southern Tier.
NOAA’s official outlook for the remainder of the summer from the Climate Prediction Center depicts above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation. By voluntarily reducing water usage, and being extra careful with fire and outdoor flames, New Yorkers can help conserve our natural resources during these dry days of summer.