Picente Calls For Reduced Flow at Hinckley Due to Low Water Levels

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. today called upon the New York State Canal Corp. to take pro-active steps to reduce the amount of water flowing out of Hinckley Reservoir due to the extremely low water level in the reservoir, which serves as the major drinking water source for the Utica region and also supplies water to the Erie Canal.

Picente issued a formal request to the Canal Corporation for what are known as “operating diagram deviations.” Deviating from the operating diagram’s standard procedures would permit the reservoir to fill to higher levels, avoiding a potential downturn in the supply of water available, and further concern about water shortages that the region has experienced, most recently in March 2010, and previously in September 2007, according to Picente.
“I am disconcerted by the current levels.  Not only are they lower than normal for this time of year; the levels are, somewhat alarmingly, at historically low marks for all years on this date,” Picente wrote. “Our community has been watching water levels carefully since early March, when we last experienced a near emergency during erratic weather circumstances. With the water at its current low level, and with the warmest weather months still in the offing, we contend that immediately putting deviations into effect is the responsible and proper action to take for the health and safety of our communities and our region.”
“A modest reduction in flows at Hinckley right now will alleviate any further threat from current low levels and the potential impact of the warm-weather months to come. Simply put, this is the sensible, responsible, and responsive thing to do,” Picente wrote. “The history of Hinckley Reservoir management has demonstrated very clearly that minor adjustments early on are more effective and much more desirable than drastic adjustments after a water supply emergency has developed.”