In a press release on Friday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that she had directed the Department of Environmental Conservation to issue a drought watch for 21 New York Counties.

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Among those New York counties that have been put under a drought watch are Tompkins, Chemung, and Onondaga Counties. The Department of Environmental Conservation is encouraging residents in these counties to conserve water resources whenever possible during the dry spell hitting New York this summer.

The drought watch was triggered after comparing a number of water level measures to past state averages, including precipitation levels, reservoir and lake levels, stream flow and groundwater levels. According to the Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Geological Survey, a shortage of rainfall has led to stream flows and groundwater levels being well below normal.

In her press release, Governor Hochul stated "Recent rains across the state were not enough to address the dry conditions that have persisted this year. Local water restrictions and educating residents about how to help conserve our water resources will be crucial steps to help prevent a more severe shortage should conditions worsen."

There are a few ways that residents of drought watch-stricken counties can conserve their water. Limiting the amount of times lawns are watered, raising cutting heights on their lawn mower to allow grass to grow longer, using collected water from rain, dehumidifiers and air conditioners to water plants, cleaning their driveways with a broom instead of a hose and fixing leaking pipes, hoses, and faucets to ensure no water is going to waste.

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