Gov. Hochul directs DEC to expand drought watch for 21 counties in NY

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Hochul has directed the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to extend its drought watch for all counties in our viewing area.

A map of the current drought conditions can be found here.

New York State is encouraging residents in affected counties, particularly those dependent on private groundwater wells, to conserve water whenever possible during the coming weeks.

“Recent rains across the state were not enough to address the dry conditions that have persisted this year,” Gov. Hochul said. “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 counties under drought watch are Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genessee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Suffolk, Tompkins, Wyoming, and Yates.

A watch is the first of four levels of State drought advisories, which are watch, warning, emergency, and disaster.

No mandatory restrictions are in place under a drought watch.

To protect water resources, homeowners are encouraged to voluntarily reduce outdoor water use and follow these 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; and
• Fix leaking pipes, hoses, and faucets.

For more water-saving tips, visit the DEC’s webpage. For more information about drought in New York, click here.