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> Water Conservation Urged 2016-07-29

 N E W S   R E L E A S E 

Your Partner for a Healthy Community
Frank Kruppa — Public Health Director


Saturday, July 30, 2016

For more information contact:
Marcia Lynch at 607-274-5555 or Frank Kruppa at 607-274-6304

Health Department Urges Everyone to Conserve Water to Address Our Severe Drought

(Ithaca, N.Y., July 29, 2016) — Tompkins County and much of the Finger Lakes are experiencing severe drought conditions, because of our prolonged period of low rainfall. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a drought “watch” for all of New York State.

The shortage of rainfall has caused the City of Ithaca's withdrawal of water from the Six Mile Creek reservoir to at times exceed the rate of replenishment, and Fall Creek has approximately half its flow being used by the Cornell University system. If the current drought conditions do not improve and coupled with the return of students, in the next few weeks both supplies could be inadequate to meet the demand. The City of Ithaca and Cornell University have asked users to conserve water.

Tompkins County is urging all residents, businesses and visitors to conserve water.

The Tompkins County Health Department is working closely with the City of Ithaca, Cornell University and Bolton Point Water System to ensure a community approach to address issues created by the drought. The primary focus is the area’s three public water systems—the City of Ithaca, Cornell University, and the Bolton Point Water System— since they all draw from surface water for their supply, and work together as redundant backups for each other. Bolton Point Water System has access to source water, but is at or near treatment capacity and may not be able to provide additional support to meet the community’s demand if drought conditions persist.

“Our larger community can help ensure both ground and surface water are adequate by conserving water,” said Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa. “Agriculture is dependent on our groundwater, as are many small water systems and individual wells. It will take our entire community conserving to ensure surface and ground water is available to meet the demand. We urge everyone to conserve water.”

Water Conservation Tips:

  • Do not hose down sidewalks, patios or driveways.
  • Stop watering lawns.
  • Use hand watering for valuable plants and vegetable gardens, and water in the morning or evening.
  • If you run your water before using it for cooking, drinking, or showering/bathing, capture the unused water in a bucket and use for watering plants or filling toilet tanks.
  • Do not run washing machines or dishwashers until you have a full load.
  • Take shorter showers: If you normally take a 5 minute shower, take a 4 minute shower for an immediate 20% water reduction. Better yet, take a 3 minute shower for a 40% reduction.
  • Turn off the water in the shower while lathering or shampooing.
  • Install low flow shower heads or other water saving devices.
  • Use bath water to fill your toilet tank.
  • Flush toilets every other time if possible.
  • Do not leave water running while washing dishes, brushing your teeth or shaving.
  • Be conservative about your overall daily use.

Additional steps that businesses can take:

  • Restaurants should only serve water to patrons who request it and should inform patrons of the need to conserve water.
  • Reduce or stop landscape irrigation.

For more water-saving tips, check out the EPA Water Sense web page

For local updates, visit:
   • Tompkins County Health Department website, drought page
   • City of Ithaca website, Civic Alerts

For more information on the drought:
   • Northeast region map of drought conditions; updated regularly by the National Drought Mitigation
   • July 2016, Northeast Regional Climate Center special report on the drought