Historically, New York State has been in receipt of ample annual precipitation to recharge its reservoirs, lakes, rivers, and groundwater aquifers. But from 1979-81, particularly the winter and spring of 1981, precipitation levels declined and drought-related impacts and problems started to become evident. Of particular concern were water shortages in the southern part of the State, including the New York City metropolitan area, where nearly two-thirds (2/3) of the State’s population resides. As a result, the State’s Drought Task Force was formed. The NYS Drought Management Plan (DMP) identifies drought management regions as established by NYS DEC.

The New York State Drought Plan was written in 1982 and updated in 1988. Public water supplies are the main focus of the plan, which is primarily based on lessons learned from the 1980–81 and 1984–85 droughts. The Drought Management Task Force (DMTF) operates the plan, and the lead agency on the DMTF is the Department of Environmental Conservation.

The plan is divided into two parts: a state drought preparedness plan focusing on monitoring and evaluating conditions and options to minimize drought impacts, and a drought response plan that defines specific actions to be taken during various stages of drought. This arrangement is unique among state drought plans. The New York State Drought Plan also recommends programs and projects that should be completed to better prepare the state for drought, based on two-time scales: short-term (up to 3 years), and long-term (3–10 years).

Droughts often are related to extreme and prolonged heat and can be accompanied by public health implications.

Fall Feeding Decision Tools

Many farms in the Lake Plains and Finger Lakes Regions in New York have diminished forage supply for the feeding season we are about to enter.  Drought conditions have challenged our production systems in 2016.  Here are some tools to help with decision making.

Resources for Forage Management in a Drought Situation

Much of the state has experienced below-normal precipitation with varying levels of drought conditions affecting large areas.  Resources for Forage Management in a Drought Situation (PDF) outlines many considerations related to forage management and provides a list of more detailed information on many related topics.

New York State Drought Hazard Profile

Northeast Regional Climate Center

USDA Disaster and Drought Assistance

Department of Environmental Conservation:

Drought Facts

Water Supply and Conservation

National Drought Mitigation Center:

Vegetation Response Index

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services:

Drought and Wildfire Resources

United States Geological Survey (USGS) NYS Drought Information