N.Y. Calls Drought Emergency, Sets Strict Curbs on Water Use

From Times Wire Services

Mayor Edward I. Koch declared a drought emergency Wednesday and announced tough conservation measures, including a ban on watering lawns.

The city also banned all ornamental useds of water, such as fountains, waterfalls and reflecting pools, even if they recirculate the water.

“New York won’t be as green as usual this year,” Koch said. “Tough times require tough measures, and the drought emergency will be a very tough time.”

The reservoirs that supply New York City were at 55% of capacity Wednesday. Normally, they are 91.4% full at this time of year.


The city and much of the Hudson Valley region are in the grip of a drought that some health and conservation officials have predicted could result in the worst water shortage in history.

“We are banning or cutting back on the nonessential use of water in order to keep the reservoirs as full as possible,” the mayor said. “All of us have to comply with the restrictions and change our personal habits at home.”

Other restrictions, all effective immediately, require all businesses to reduce their water use by 20% and ban car-washing and the filling of swimming pools.

Fines of up to $500 can be imposed for violations; repeat offenders can be fined up to $1,000.


City officials said they hoped the restrictions--coupled with voluntary conservation measures--would cut the city’s water consumption, currently 1.5 billion gallons a day, by 20%.

The Department of Environmental Protection urged that people take shorter showers, install low-flow water devices and refrain from running the water during shaving and teeth-brushing.