GLENVILLE — A little rain and a little damming can make a big difference.
The Great Flats Aquifer below the Mohawk River west of Schenectady is replenishing, so effective immediately, the town of Glenville has lifted the water restrictions that have been in place since June 19.
“The river is coming up, and we’re getting good rainfall,” Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said on Tuesday. “Once there is hydraulic pressure on the aquifer, the aquifer is recharging.”
The towns of Ballston, Charlton, Clifton Park, Niskayuna and Rotterdam also imposed water use restrictions during the June 17-20 timeframe, because at that point there had been very little rain during the month of June to replenish groundwater supplies.
Aggravating the situation was that the spring shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic have delayed off-season maintenance work on the state’s canal system, so the moveable downs at the Erie Canal locks west of Lock 7 are still out.
In response, the state Canal Corp. installed the lower dam gates at Lock 8 in Scotia-Rotterdam, creating a partial impoundment that has helped recharge the aquifer. All the dams on the canal system are expected to be in place by mid-July, restoring the Mohawk River to its navigation-season levels.
A shift in weather patterns have also brought more rain to the Capital Region in the last several days, and a pattern that could include afternoon thunderstorms is expected to last through most of this week, according to the National Weather Service.
None of the other communities that imposed water use restrictions had changed their water restrictions as of Tuesday afternoon. “This only applies to the town of Glenville,” Koetzle said.
The main restriction has been a limitation on lawn sprinkling and other outdoor water use, restricting use to an odd-even number/day system and banning mid-day use of sprinkler systems.
Even if the aquifer is recovering, Rotterdam’s restrictions are expected to remain in place through July 31. In addition to dealing with more water use because people are at home more during the pandemic, the May Avenue water tank is out of service for reconditioning through roughly the end of July, limiting the town’s storage capacity.