A lawn sprinkler in Suffolk County Sunday. State officials are urging...

A lawn sprinkler in Suffolk County Sunday. State officials are urging residents to water their lawn only intermittently and conserve water. Credit: Sofia Sawchuk

Suffolk County residents are being urged to conserve water after the county was put on the state's drought watch, officials said. 

No mandatory restrictions are in place during a watch, the lowest of the four levels of state drought advisories, followed by a warning, emergency, and disaster.   

Suffolk is one of 21 counties across the state placed on a drought watch, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Friday. 

"Recent rains across the state were not enough to address the dry conditions that have persisted this year," Hochul said in a statement. 

Hochul said educating residents about conservation could help prevent a more severe water shortage. 

The other counties placed on the drought watch include: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genessee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tompkins, Wyoming, and Yates. 

Officials said several conditions including below-normal precipitation during the last three months, low streamflows, and low groundwater levels sparked the need for the advisory. 

State Department of Environmental Conservation officials said some ways to conserve water include only watering lawns when necessary, reusing rain water collected in barrels, dehumidifiers and air conditioners to water plants as well as fixing leaking pipes hoses and faucets. 

According to the federal government’s National Integrated Drought Information System, more than 88% of Suffolk County is “abnormally dry,” a condition that causes crop growth to be stunted, delays planting and elevates wildfire danger. 

The Suffolk County Water Authority, which serves about 1.2 million residents in the county, on Thursday said Southampton Village is experiencing a water emergency. It asked residents of the village to eliminate nonessential water use, cut back on shower times and avoid irrigating lawns between midnight and 7 a.m.

It also asked every customer in its service area to avoid running lawn-irrigation systems between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. and to not water their lawns more than every other day.

The drought watch is triggered by the State Drought Index, which is made up of precipitation levels and other factors in nine drought regions of the state.

With Vera Chinese

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