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Oswego mayor urges 'immediate' water conservation, water levels critically low

Jason Smith
Lawns all over central and northern New York are brown due to the lack of rain this summer

Oswego's mayor is asking city residents to conserve water, saying the city's water supply is at critically low levels. 

Mayor Billy Barlow says because of the severe drought, the city's ground water storage tank is at a critically low level, and "continues to be depleted at a rate that could cause a significant health hazard if water conservation measures aren't taken." 

Barlow says city residents are using about a million gallons of water each day, and that's more than the city can treat as it's pulled in from Lake Ontario. 

Barlow is asking anyone who uses the city's water supply, which includes city residents and residents of the towns of Scriba and New Haven, to decrease their use of water as much as possible for the next several weeks. 

"We're holding off on watering our own lawns, we put a stop to fire hydrant testing, and just making sure on our end that we're being as conservative as we can," said Barlow. "But the water plant is at max power and pretty much has been all summer."

Barlow is asking residents to put off watering lawns, washing cars, and filling pools until after Labor Day. 

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has placed Oswego County, along with much of central and western New York, under a drought warning. According to the National Weather Service, parts of Oswego County received less than a half-inch of rain in July. 

The city of Ithaca has also asked residents to conserve water. Officials there say water in its reservoir is also at a dangerously low level.