BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Governor Kathy Hochul announced today that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is issuing a drought watch for all eight Western New York counties.
In total, there are 21 counties on drought watch in New York State. These counties include Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genessee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Suffolk, Tompkins, Wyoming, and Yates.
"Recent rains across the state were not enough to address the dry conditions that have persisted this year. 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."
The watch is in response to reports from the State Drought Index. The index detects precipitation, stream flow, lake and groundwater levels throughout the nine drought regions of New York State.
Results indicated that continuous dry weather and scarce rainfall within the past three months resulted in low streamflows and low groundwater levels necessary for public water supplies.
"Conserving water is important all year long, but particularly during extended dry periods like we are experiencing now. 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."
The National Weather Service is reminding New Yorkers that the coming summer months are expected to have high temperatures and low rainfall. Everyone is encouraged to save water with the following tips:
• Water lawns only when necessary, choose watering methods that avoid waste, and water in the early morning to reduce evaporation and maximize soil hydration;
• Reuse water collected in rain barrels, dehumidifiers, or air conditioners to water plants;
• Raise lawn mower cutting heights. Longer grass is healthier with stronger roots and needs less water;
• Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks;
• Fix leaking pipes, hoses, and faucets.
More information about the drought watch in New York can be found here.