GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) - Drought conditions in Erie and Niagara counties are putting a real strain on the water supply, even in Grand Island, a town literally surrounded by water.
It all comes down to supply and demand. Demand for water is high right now because the weather has been so hot and dry. So the Town of Grand Island is asking its residents to conserve water so the available supply doesn't get dangerously low.
Town Supervisor Mary Cooke said, "Two things: Don't wash your car and don't water your lawn. If everybody stops doing that for a bit, we should be able to help recover our water tank."
The combination of people using more water during this hot, dry spell and longer daylight hours is taping out the town's water supply. Ordinarily, the tanks are only refilled during the overnight hours.
"Our water tank just isn't getting filled up every night like it usually does," Cooke said. "Normally we have no problem pumping out of the river. Our water tank over on Whitehaven usually gets filled roughly between 9 and 10 at night and 6 in the morning. And with a less than full tank, you end up with less than full pressure, which we're at now."
At this point, the "please conserve" effort is voluntary. David Gross is following the town's request to prioritize. He has his sprinkler out, but only for a select few shrubs.
"I'm watering my bushes as you can see. But the only reason is, they're dying. I'm not going to water my grass," said Gross.
The biggest concern is fire, either a house fire or brush fire, like the one that began in Niagara Falls earlier on Thursday.
Cooke said, "Water pressure that is low is annoying if you're showering. But it's life-threatening if you can't get a hydrant to work when you need it to.
"Alls it's going to take is to drop a cigarette or a match or something and it's going to be a disaster," said Gross.
The town will tell Grand Island residents through the media if and when the conserve effort becomes mandatory or if it is lifted.
Here are some other tips to help you and your family conserve water during drought conditions:
- Take shorter showers. Showering can use anywhere from five to ten gallons of water every minute.
- Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors.
- Don't leave faucets running while washing your hands, shaving, brushing your teeth, or washing dishes.
- Only run dishwashers and clothes washers when they are fully-loaded.
- Water your lawn/shrubs only when they really need it. Prevent evaporation by keeping the sprinkler stream low to the ground, and not watering in full sunlight.
- Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks.
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