MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The Town of Carmel is asking residents in 12 water districts to voluntarily curtail nonessential water use in the wake of statewide drought watch issued by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The water districts include Mahopac business district (1); hamlet of Carmel (2); Lake Secor (3); Lake Baldwin (4); Maple Terr (5); Shell Valley and Tomahawk Creek (6); Ivy Hills (7); Mahopac Ridge (8); Mahopac Hills (9); Lakeview Park (10); Rolling Greens (13); and Red Mills (14).

Town officials said they’ve been advised by their contract operators, Bee & Jay Plumbing & Heating, and Severn Trent Environmental Services, that current usage in those areas is overtaxing the wells and lakes, which supply water to the districts.

Sign Up for E-News

Town engineer Richard Franzetti said his department has inspected the town’s water facilities and concluded that the excessive usage is not due to any identifiable leaks, concluding that the demand is due to water usage by the districts’ residents.

The town requests voluntary cooperation to curtail nonessential water use to the maximum extent possible, including the following: 1. Fixing any leaking plumbing fixtures, such as valves and toilets; 2. Eliminating washing of motor vehicles, structures, and driveways; 3. Reduce irrigation of lawns and gardens. Check automatic sprinkler systems for leaks. Automatic sprinkler systems should operate at night, at off-peak hours (9 p.m.-5 a.m.) and should not be set for long periods of time; 4. Filling of pools should also be done at off-peak hours and over a several-day period.

Town officials ask that if residents notice any excessively wet, damp or muddy spots in their yard, or thicker grass areas, immediately advise the water operator or office of the town engineer at 845-628-2087, as it could be indicative of a leak in the service line. They said that if water usage continues to remain high, it may become necessary to impose mandatory restrictions in order to protect the viability of the water system’s supply.

Last month, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos issued a drought watch for the entire state of New York following consultation with the State Drought Management Task Force and federal partner agencies.

A watch is the first of four levels of state drought advisories ("watch," "warning," "emergency" and "disaster"). There are no statewide mandatory water use restrictions in place under a drought watch. However, local public water suppliers may require such measures depending upon local needs and conditions, such as Carmel’s request to curtail nonessential water usage.

The drought watch is triggered by the State Drought Index, which reflects precipitation levels, reservoir/lake levels, and stream flow and groundwater levels in nine designated drought regions throughout New York. Each of those indicators is assigned a weighted value based on its significance to various uses in a region.

This Index is intended primarily for guidance to public and private water suppliers and withdrawals.