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Drought in New York Almost Over

November 28, 1985|From a Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — After a summer of stringent conservation, officials said Wednesday that one of the worst droughts in recent history was just about over in New York City.

"We expect to be back to normal in a month or two," said Gregory Perrin, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, the municipal agency responsible for New York's extensive reservoir system. "November was a good month. The yield was twice as much as expected."

Joseph T. McGough, the department's commissioner, said rainfall has been 7% above normal since June. Normal rainfall is predicted for winter and spring, and the outlook is that reservoirs will be full by next July 1.

"The emergency measures we took this year kept the reservoirs from falling too low and made this recovery possible," Mayor Edward I. Koch said Wednesday.

Environmental protection officials said the reservoirs were at 63% of capacity. The normal level for this time of year is 72.8%.

During the drought, some of the most severe conservation measures in city history went into effect. Water was pumped from the Hudson River into reservoirs, air conditioning systems using water in office buildings were turned off for two hours a day and helicopters flew over residential neighborhoods searching for cheaters who secretly watered their lawns.

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