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New Yorkers should use less water: Mayor

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city Department of Environmental Protection are urging New Yorkers to conserve water as city officials declared a drought warning Monday.

The reservoirs that supply the city with drinking water were almost 50 percent below normal capacity for this time of year, Bloomberg said Sunday, when a drought watch was declared.

“They are usually over 80 percent full towards the end of January,” the mayor said, but as of Saturday “their levels were only at 41 percent of capacity. I am asking New Yorkers to save water in their everyday activities at home and at work.”

The city reservoir system entered a drought watch Sunday, the first phase of the city’s Drought Management Plan. As water levels continued to drop, the city crossed the line from a watch to drought warning Monday.

The DEP attributed the drought to a precipitation deficit of more than 11 inches last year in areas that generally get 44.5 inches annually.

Bloomberg and the DEP offered several tips for conserving water:

• An open hydrant can waste up to one million gallons of water per day. Report them to 718-DEP-HELP.

• Call the number above to take advantage of DEP’s free water survey to help save water and cut water bills.

• Take shorter showers or fill the tub only halfway to save water.

• Do not run the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth.

• Fix leaks. Leaky faucets can waste up to 1,000 gallons each week.

• Run the dishwasher and washing machines only when full.

• Do not use the toilet as a wastebasket. Each unnecessary flush can waste up to 5 gallons of water.

• Install water-saving fixtures in toilets, shower heads and faucets.

• Sweep driveways and sidewalks clean instead of using a water hose.

• For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/dep.

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