New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, in conjunction with the State Drought Management Task Force and federal partner agencies, today announced a drought watch for twenty-one New York counties through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
"Recent rains across the state were not enough to address the dry conditions that have persisted this year," Hochul stated of the drought watch. "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."
Counties included in the drought watch are as follows: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genessee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Suffolk, Tompkins, Wyoming, and Yates.
"Conserving water is important all year long, but particularly during extended dry periods like we are experiencing now,” remarked Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos of the drought watch. “DEC will continue to monitor water conditions as the summer continues and work with our partners to help address the short-term water issues leading to this watch and the longer-term impacts of climate change on our everyday lives."
No mandatory restrictions on water use are in effect under a drought watch, as it is only the first of four levels assigned to drought advisories, though New Yorkers are encouraged to water lawns only when necessary, reuse water for plants, and use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks. For drought watch conditions, the order goes watch, warning, emergency, and disaster should conditions continue to deteriorate.