Decreasing Water Levels Prompt Drought Warning

Photos courtesy of Flickr and Wikipedia.

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Residents of Kingston have been issued a drought warning as a result of the Kingston’s Cooper Lake water levels dropping. 

While initially issued by Kingston’s Water Department on Oct. 14 after levels had reached 75 percent capacity, the conservation efforts have become drastically more urgent due to the lake dropping to 65 percent of its usual capacity, according to The Daily Freeman. 

 As of now, conservation of water is considered voluntary, the city Board of Water Commission (BWC) will increasingly continue to educate residents on the importance of water conservation and might even debate reviewing mandatory restrictions should the levels proceed to plummet.

According to The Daily Freeman, possible “emergency” status would occur if the levels reach a capacity of 50 percent — as of protocol, this would demand an immediate need for mandatory restrictions for all residents of Kingston.

Water Superintendent of Kingston Judith Hansen commented that there are innumerable opportunities for the people of Kingston to be proactive in the efforts of preserving water.

“Take shorter showers. A five minute shower uses 20 gallons of water on average. A ten minute shower? Double that,” Hansen said.

The opportunities do not stop there. According to Hansen, filling up a bathtub to the top typically utilizes 36 gallons of water, the BWC advises residents to only fill it up halfway. Additionally, procrastinating doing the dishes and laundry might actually be a solution, seeing as running both machines only when necessary will save a large amount of water. Both dishwashers and washer machines utilize 10 gallons of water each. 

Hansen reasons that if people hold off until the machines are a full load, there will be a significant amount of water spared. 

“Residents can do simple things— turn the water off when brushing your teeth. Fix your leaky faucet,” said Hansen.

Seeing as in the last 36 years, Kingston has only experienced two drought emergencies, one being in 1980 and the other being in 2012, officials plan to monitor the situation. Should the water levels continue to decrease, the drought would be entering the third of three stages, according to Hansen.  

According the BWC, this stage has never been reached and accredits the current state to the lower than average rainfall record- rainfall for the month of October was recorded at 2.4 inches, two inches less than usual.

While the lake’s capacity is 1.2 billion gallons, since the alert was issued, only 3.9 million gallons have been consumed daily which is 100,000 gallons less than average. 

In a press release with The Daily Freeman, the BWC commented that during this drought, the town of Ulster, which receives water from the Cooper Lake reservoir, will be asked to decrease their daily 700,000 gallon intake to 500,000 gallons and will continue to be updated on a month to month basis via the Kingston Board of Water Commissions as due to the request of city Supervisor James Quigley.

Hansen explained that the water shortage does not only deplete the natural resource but puts businesses at risk as well.

“Think of all the local businesses. They utilize water, they need water to operate,” said Hansen.

For more information on how to be proactive in the water conservation efforts, Hansen can be reached at 845-338-5179.