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Drought Advisory, 2016

Water saving tips
Local creek flow data

As a result of the prolonged period of low rainfall, the New York State Department of Conservation has issued a drought “watch” for all of New York State. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Tompkins County and much of the Finger Lakes are experiencing severe drought conditions.

Oct 25 NYS  | Oct 25 NE

Sept 6 NYS | Sep 6 NE

  • TCHD Press Release, July 29, 2016
    + All residents, businesses, and visitors are urged to conserve water
    + With the return of students in the next few weeks, current supplies could be inadequate to meet demand
  • TCHD Press Release, July 21, 2016
    + Fall Creek and Six Mile Creek, which supply drinking water to Cornell University and the City of Ithaca, are at record low levels.
    + USGS data shows groundwater levels are lower than normal and steadily dropping.
    + Residents are urged to take measures to conserve water, now.
  • Private Well Water: Guidance for Use During Drought Conditions (PDF)
    Some private wells run dry every summer, while others, which may be right next-door, flow without a problem even during a drought. Geographical or physical conditions of the soil or rock and well construction may cause these differences.
    + Groundwater levels all across Tomkins County are low this year due to a very dry winter, spring and summer. If weather trends persist we anticipate an increase in the number of private wells that will run dry this year. This guidance has been prepared to help people cope with the situation.  
  • Water Storage (NYSDOH Individual Water Supply Wells Fact sheet #2) (PDF 227 KB)
    A drinking water well capable of providing a sufficient quantity of water is indispensable for homes that are not served by a public water system. Low yielding wells may be able to provide sufficient quantity for daily use, yet be unable to meet peak demand. Supplemental water storage can allow low yield wells to meet peak water use demand.
  • Certified Water Haulers (PDF)
    This is a list of water haulers certified by the New York State Health Department who are based in contiguous counties. Currently, there are no certified water haulers in Tompkins County. 
  • List of Well Drillers (PDF)
    Listed in this download are well drillers in Tompkins and surrounding counties who are registered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Well drillers are required to register on an annual basis. A more comprehensive and up-to-date list may be found on the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/cfmx/extapps/WaterWell/
  • Northeast region map of drought conditions; updated regularly by the National Drought Mitigation Center (sample map shown above): droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/RegionalDroughtMonitor.aspx?northeast
  • Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University, special report on the drought, July 2016 (PDF): www.nrcc.cornell.edu/services/special/reports/drought_july2016.pdf
  • From New York State's website
    NYS DEC Press Release, July 15, 2016
    About Drought in NYS
    Current Drought Conditions


Water Conservation Tips:

  • Fix leaking faucets and toilets.
  • Avoid washing vehicles and other non-essential usages.
  • 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. Modern post 1994 fixtures use less than half the water of pre-1980 fixtures.
  • 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.
  • Restaurants should only serve water to patrons who request it and should inform patrons of the need to conserve water.
  • Businesses should reduce or stop landscape irrigation.
  • Click for more water saving tips from the NYSDEC


Creek Flow Related to Local Water Systems

Click for site showing daily flow rate (discharge) and gage heights measured by the U.S. Geological Service (USGS)

  • Fall Creek (supplies Cornell)
    Location: left bank 0.18 mi downstream from bridge on Forest Home Drive, 0.2 mi upstream of Beebe Lake dam, 2.0 mi NE of Ithaca, and 2.2 mi upstream from mouth. Discharge graph shown below.
     Fall Creek flow chart
     
  • Six Mile Creek (supplies Ithaca)
    Location: left bank at bridge on German Cross Rd, 3.4 mi SE of Ithaca, at Bethel Grove. Discharge graph shown below.
     Six Mile Creek flow chart