NISKAYUNA - Niskayuna this week became the latest community that draws its water from the Great Flats Aquifer to announce increased enforcement of water use restrictions, as dry weather conditions continue and the Mohawk River remains below its historic levels.
Niskayuna, which has municipal groundwater wells but also buys water from the city of Schenectady, announced that regular lawn sprinkling and garden watering will be allowed only between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., following an odd-even system -- odd-numbered properties can water on odd-numbered days, even-numbered properties on even-numbered days.
Automatically timed sprinkler systems may be used between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., also following the odd-even schedule. Households with newly seeded lawns or newly planted gardens may sprinkle daily during the early-morning or evening hours, but only with permission of the town water department.
The town each year has water use restrictions between May 1 and Nov. 1, but indicated those rules will be more aggressively enforced.
Niskayuna follows Glenville, Rotterdam, Ballston, Charlton and Clifton Park, which in rapid succession imposed similar restrictions late last week.
All draw their water from or buy water drawn from the Great Flats Aquifer below Schenectady County. But the aquifer has suffered because of the prolonged dry weather since early May, and also because of the Mohawk being low.
The Mohawk is low because seasonal dams maintained by the state Canal Corp. as part of the Erie Canal remain out, as the Canal Corp. tries to catch up with winter maintenance work that had to be postponed due to the shutdowns to slow the virus. The dams are currently out between Lock 8 in Glenville and the western Mohawk Valley.
Last week, the Canal Corp. installed the lower dam gates at Lock 8 in an effort to increase the impoundment, which is expected to recharge the reservoir. The full dams are expected to be in place in the next couple of weeks, with the Erie Canal opening for navigation around July 15.