ITHACA, NY – As we approach the fall season, the drought throughout Central New York shows no signs of abating.

The last few weeks have been among the driest stretches of time we’ve had this summer, and the national weather service is predicting the next two weeks to be fairly dry as well.

The two graphs below are telling. The first shows the water flows at Six Mile Creek, where the city reservoir draws its water from, from June through late August. The second shows the flows from Aug. 25 through Sept. 8.

After a long dry period through June brought the flows low, occasional storms throughout June and August replenished it — but they were not consistent enough to really replenish the watershed. Thus, the water that came from those storms was drained almost as rapidly as it came in.

The past two weeks have seen barely any rain, so the city’s daily water usage is once again threatening to cross the threshold where the reservoir is being drained faster than it’s being replenished.

This means the city is once again near the 30-day “worst case scenario,” meaning if we continue to get no rain and people don’t step up conservation efforts, the city could be out of water in a month’s time.

While we’re not seeing as much of the obvious drought-related issues, such as discolored water, the situation is still serious and Ithacans will need to continue to practice water conservation to keep the situation from deteriorating further.

Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.