City’s water prob­lems worsen

‘Drought alert’ has been es­ca­lated to ‘drought warn­ing’ as Cooper Lake reser­voir level falls to 65% of ca­pac­ity

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­

The city has de­clared a “drought warn­ing” in re­sponse to its Cooper Lake reser­voir drop­ping to 65 per­cent of ca­pac­ity. The warn­ing is one step up from the “drought alert” is­sued in mid-Oc­to­ber.

The warn­ing, like the alert, calls for vol­un­tary water con­ser­va­tion, but it asks for a spe­cific level of cut­back by com­mer­cial users.

“Res­i­den­tial users are be­ing asked to vol­un­tar­ily cut back on water use, while com­mer­cial users are be­ing asked to re­duce con­sump­tion by 15 per­cent,” the city said in a writ­ten state­ment.

The Kingston Water De­part­ment, in a press re­lease is­sued

Mon­day, said: “Al­though water con­ser­va­tion is still vol­un­tary dur­ing a drought warn­ing, the ... de­part­ment will be in­creas­ing its con­ser­va­tion out­reach ef­forts and will be no­ti­fy­ing all com­mer­cial users that if a ‘drought emer­gency’ is de­clared, they will be re­quired to re­duce con­sump­tion in­cre­men­tally by as much as 25 per­cent. At the same time, the de­part­ment will be pre­par­ing to ac­cess al­ter­nate water sources, and the board (city Board of Water Com­mis­sion­ers) will be re­view­ing manda­tory re­stric­tions should a drought emer­gency be de­clared.”

Kingston will de­clare a “drought emer­gency” if the water level in Cooper Lake, which is in the town of Wood­stock, falls to 50 per­cent, and con­ser­va­tion would be­come manda­tory for all users. Kingston has de­clared only two drought emer­gen­cies in the last 36 years — one in 1980, the other in 2012.

There ac­tu­ally are three stages of “drought emer­gency,” with Stage 3 be­ing the most se­ri­ous, ac­cord­ing to city Water Su­per­in­ten­dent Ju­dith Hansen. She said that stage has never been reached.

The “drought alert” was is­sued Oct. 14 when Cooper Lake dropped to 75 per­cent ca­pac­ity. Two weeks later, the city said the level had dropped to

70 per­cent. The av­er­age for this time of year is about 85 per­cent.

Cooper Lake’s ca­pac­ity is 1.2 bil­lion gal­lons.

The Water De­part­ment said rain­fall at Cooper Lake in Oc­to­ber to­taled 2.4 inches, well be­low the av­er­age of 4.4 inches.

The de­part­ment said daily de­mand from the lake has been hold­ing at about 3.9 mil­lion gal­lons per day, a de­crease of about 100,000 gal­lons per day from the nor­mal level, since the “alert” was de­clared.

Dur­ing the “drought warn­ing,” the city said, “the town of Ul­ster, which may take up to 700,000 gal­lons of water daily from Cooper Lake, will be asked to re­duce that to 500,000 per day.” The city said Ul­ster

Su­per­vi­sor James Quigley has asked the Kingston Board of Water Com­mis­sion­ers to or­der re­duc­tions on a month-by-month ba­sis.

To con­serve water, the Kingston Water De­part­ment ad­vises that users:

• Turn off the tap when brush­ing teeth.

• Run dish­wash­ers and wash­ing ma­chines only when full.

• Check all faucets for leaks. A slow drip can waste 15 to 20 gal­lons per day, or al­most 6,000 gal­lons per year.

• Check toi­lets for leaks by putting a few drops of food col­or­ing in the tank. Watch for a few min­utes to see if the color shows up in the bowl. A toi­let leak can waste up to 100 gal­lons of eater per day.


Cooper Lake in Wood­stock, the city of Kingston’s main reser­voir, is shown on Mon­day.

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