Governor Kathy Hochul has declared a drought watch in Delaware, Chenango and Otsego counties.  Hochul is encouraging residents to conserve water whenever possible because of the unusually dry conditions. The public is urged to water lawns only when necessary, fix leaks, take short showers, and collect water in rain barrels, dehumidifiers and air conditioners.

“The Department of Environmental Protection is closely monitoring water levels throughout the Catskills region,” DEP spokesman John Milgrim said in a statement received by CNY News. “Precipitation has been less than normal with shortfalls of two to six inches over the last 90 days.”

The National Weather Service is also sounding an alarm. Rainfall in the region is about a half foot below normal for the year, according NOAA. The outlook for the remainder of the summer is for above-average temperatures and below-normal precipitation. The DEP said the weather has been drier than normal beginning in the spring. Stream flows and groundwater levels are well below average throughout much of the region.

A drought watch is the first of four levels of advisories. They are a watch, warning, emergency and disaster. So far there are no mandatory water restrictions in place for our region.   The dry conditions have increased the danger of wildfires. Folks are advised to be careful with campfires because they are one of the leading causes of forest fires.

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