No drought yet
By Patsy Nicosia
Hit and miss showers across all of New York State have prompted DEC to issue a drought watch-the first in a series of water-use advisories.
Locally, though, there's no cause for concern.
And for farmers, things couldn't be better.
"Schoharie County has been so fortunate this year," said John Radliff, president of the Schoharie County Farm Bureau.
"We got enough rain at the right times and even though there are some dry spots, most of the crops, even the corn, is looking darn good."
Mother Nature's been especially cooperative when it comes to making hay, Mr. Radliff said.
Instead of trying to outrun and outguess thunderstorms, farmers have been able to mow, rake, and bale hay just about every day.
Elsewhere though-in Western New York and even in Greene and Columbia Counties-the lack of rain has been an issue for farmers; Mr. Radliff said he even heard of a hayfield catching on fire in Alexandria Bay things were so dry.
"You play the cards you're dealt," he said. "Mother Nature has a way of balancing things out. But for now, we're good."
Cobleskill water Superintendent Joe Redmond said there's plenty of water in his reservoirs; Vladimir Jones, Public Works superintendent for the Village of Sharon Springs, said the same thing-though Mr. Jones is dealing with different water issues there.
Mr. Redmond said both his Down and Smith Reservoirs are full and in good shape, and though the Holding Pond is down about three feet, he doesn't expect any problems.
That's because reservoirs are set up to capture sudden downpours like the ones Cobleskill's been seeing and aren't as dependant on things like spring snowmelt.
For that same reason, though, Mr. Redmond said people with wells could start running into trouble and urged everyone to conserve as much as possible.
"It's always a good idea to conserve water," he said.
Mr. Jones said he has more than enough water in Engleville Pond, the Village of Sharon Springs' main water source.
"I've been stockpiling it," he said, "although if we hadn't started conserving it back in January, we could be in trouble."
Sharon's water woes are of a different sort.
The summer's temperatures have caused a heavy overgrowth of matted vegetation at the reservoir and though it's safe to drink, it's hard to manage.
Mr. Jones said he's intentionally spilling some water from the reservoir in an effort to send the vegetation over the spillway and with the village, has begun looking at more long-range solutions.
The drought watch is triggered by factors that include precipitation, reservoir/lake, stream flow, and groundwater levels.
It's the first of four levels of advisories and followed by warning, emergency, and disaster.
The state last issued a drought advisory in 2002.