NEW YORK — Mayor Edward I. Koch declared a drought emergency today, triggering mandatory water conservation measures for New York City residents and businesses.
In Pennsylvania, Gov. Dick Thornburgh proclaimed a drought emergency in 16 eastern counties, also placing mandatory restrictions on water use.
The East Coast's current drought presents "the most critical water shortage in the Delaware River Basin in this century," Thornburgh said.
Under Koch's announcement, lawns, gardens and golf courses are restricted to early morning and late evening watering on alternate days. Washing automobiles is prohibited, commercial car washers must use recycled water and restaurants can serve a glass of water only if a customer requests it.
Short 150 Days of Water
"Rainfall has been so low that city reservoirs are short 200 billion gallons," Koch said. "To put it another way, we are missing 150 days of water. The reservoirs are only 61% full when they should be almost 100% full."
The Upstate New York reservoir system has received 27 inches of rain so far this year but should have received 37 inches, statistics show.
Koch also called on city residents to take shorter showers, flush toilets less frequently, wash clothes only when the washer is full and fix leaky faucets.
The city draws about 1.3 billion gallons of water daily from its reservoirs.