Contrary to popular belief, water shortages aren’t exclusive to our balmier, far-off national counterparts. Rockland County, as one example, is now facing this difficult reality after the Department of Health declared a Stage II Water Emergency in the area.
County Executive Ed Day and Commissioner of Health Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert made the announcement July 21, much to the surprise of area residents and businesses, which will now be held subject to new water-consumption restrictions.
“Unfortunately, our weather has remained unusually hot and dry and our water has remained relatively high,” said Day at last Thursday’s press conference. Citing rainfall this past spring that was 36 percent below average, he added, “We are now forced to put mandatory restrictions into place to reduce water use and preserve water to protect public health and safety.”
Dr. Ruppert echoed Day’s concern, observing that, “If the water-saving restrictions are not followed, we may soon be forced into a Stage III water emergency, with more extreme restrictions. The health and safety of county residents must clearly be the highest priority when supplies are limited.”
The news comes on the heels of a statewide drought watch issued on July 15. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos released a statement explaining that decision, explaining, “While most public water supplies are still generally normal throughout the state, below-normal precipitation over the last nine months, low stream flows, and reduced groundwater levels have prompted the need for this action.”
These recent alerts have, understandably, prompted greater awareness around water consumption throughout New York. For more information on conservation efforts, visit the DEC’s website.