Drought watch issued for 21 New York counties, including the Finger Lakes

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WXXI – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a drought watch for 21 counties including Monroe, Livingston, Genesee, Orleans, Seneca, Steuben, Tompkins, Wyoming and Yates.

A watch is the first of four levels of state drought advisories. No mandatory restrictions are in place under a drought watch.

Governor Kathy Hochul said that local water restrictions and educating residents about conserving water resources will be crucial to help prevent a more severe shortage if conditions worsen.

The DEC said it will continue to monitor water conditions and work with partner agencies to help address any short-term issues as well as the longer-term impacts of climate change.

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.