FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE02-21
Contact: Geoff Ryan
Spring Rains The Drought Continues
Despite normal spring rains this year, New York City's Water Supply System
remains in a Stage I Drought Emergency according to Commissioner Christopher
O. Ward of the City's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
"It is imperative that we continue to conserve as much water as possible
to avoid going into a Stage II Drought Emergency," said Commissioner
On June 1, the City's reservoirs started the new 'water year' with a supply
deficit of 17.5%. The reservoirs are normally at 100% of capacity on that
date, but were at only 82.5 % this year. While rainfall was slightly above
normal over the last three months, it did not compensate for the severe drought
conditions that developed during the previous nine months of the water year,
when precipitation was 8.77 inches, or 44%, below normal. Additionally, there
was virtually no snowcap in the Catskill Mountain watershed so that spring
runoff to the reservoirs was much lower than usual.
"Typically, during warm weather, consumption of water goes up on an
average of more than a hundred million gallons a day compared to use during
winter months, and water levels at the reservoirs start to go down,"
Commissioner Ward said. "Conservation can go a long way towards keeping
consumption low and getting us through the summer without going to the next
Stage of Drought Emergency, which carries more severe restrictions on water
use than does Stage I."
As of June 1, 2002, DEP had issued over 2,400 Notices of Violation for infractions
of the City's water use restrictions. Some of the more frequently cited violations
include illegal fire hydrant use, sidewalk washing, lawn watering, leaks and
waste of water in apartment and commercial buildings, and failure to post
"Save Water" signs in building entryways. Over 200 DEP inspectors
issue summonses for violations of water use restrictions throughout the five
Water use restrictions and water saving tips can be seen on the DEP Web
- Report open fire hydrants and street leaks to DEP's 24-hour helpline,
718/DEP-HELP. An open hydrant can waste one million gallons of drinking water
- Take advantage of DEP's free water survey to help save water and cut
water bills in residential and commercial buildings. To apply City residents
can call 718/DEP-HELP.
- Take shorter showers or fill the tub only halfway and save water.
- Don't run the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Fix leaks. Leaky faucets alone can waste over 1,000 gallons each week.
- Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when full. Or use short cycles
- Don't use the toilet as a wastebasket. Each unnecessary flush can waste
1.6 to 5 gallons.
- Install water-saving fixtures including toilets, showerheads and faucet
- Sweep driveways and sidewalks clean rather than washing them down with
- For more water saving ideas visit DEP's Web site at nyc.gov/dep.