City’s water problems worsen
‘Drought alert’ has been escalated to ‘drought warning’ as Cooper Lake reservoir level falls to 65% of capacity
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.