Rainfall helped, but reservoir still low
Tuesday’s persistent rainfall reversed, at least for a day, the recent drop in the city reservoir’s water level, but the problem is far from solved, according to Kingston’s water superintendent.
Judith Hansen said 1.68 inches of rain fell Tuesday and that the water level in the reservoir, Cooper Lake in Woodstock, rose about 2.5 inches.
The rain “certainly helped,” Hansen said in an email. “... And we will continue to benefit from the runoff and the flow in the Mink Hollow stream for the next several days.”
She said the water level in Cooper Lake has been dropping about 0.2 feet per day, but “yesterday (Tuesday), not only did we not drop, we gained 0.2 feet,”.
But local rainfall remains well below the November average of 4.3 inches, and the water level in Cooper Lake is much lower than it should be.
Cooper Lake was just 65 percent full on Monday, prompting the Kingston Water Department to upgrade a monthold “drought alert” to a “drought warning.” Like the alert, the warning calls for voluntary water conservation, but it asks for a 15 percent cutback by commercial users.
Cooper Lake typically is 85 percent full at this time of year. Its capacity is 1.2 billion gallons.
Kingston will declare a “drought emergency” if the water level in Cooper Lake 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. That stage has never been reached.