The Susquehanna River under the Millennium Bridge in the Town of Owego. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]

Protracted dry conditions across New York have resulted in the issuance of a statewide drought watch.

Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos is urging New Yorkers to conserve water "whenever possible."

Seggos said most New York public water supplies are "generally normal." But the lower-than-normal rainfall over the past nine months and reduced groundwater levels prompted the declaration of a drought watch.

It is the first drought watch issued in New York state since 2002.

There are no mandatory water use restrictions under the drought watch. But local water suppliers could require such measures in coming weeks.

Precipitation shortfalls of four to eight inches over the last 90 days have been recorded across much of New York.

Stream flows are well below normal in many parts of the state. Groundwater levels worsened over the past month and they aren't expected to improve soon.

Homeowners are urged to take steps to save water, including fixing dripping and leaking faucets and toilets. People also are encouraged to water lawns and gardens less frequently.

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