Drought leaves Lewis County residents having to haul water to their homes

Updated: Sep. 24, 2020 at 5:48 PM EDT
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LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - According to the National Weather Service, rainfall in Lewis County is more than 6 inches below average since April 1. As a result, a lot of people are filling up tanks with water in order to drink, shower and wash dishes at home.

The Yousey family drives to Lowville 4 days a week to fill a tank of water and hauls it back to Boonville.

“It’s been awful to tell you the truth, you know. I’ve never been in this situation before,” said Peter Yousey.

Abnormally dry conditions have left the family’s well dry.

“You don’t realize how important water is until you don’t have it. Wouldn’t be able to do clothes or take baths,” said Angela Yousey.

They aren’t the only ones filling up at Lowville Producers.

“The last month it has definitely increased, the amount of traffic going through to load water,” said Lynn Cole, store manager.

Workers say they’ve been selling at least 5,000 gallons of water a day. Sometimes milk tankers are coming in to fill up; just one of those can take 8,000 gallons of water.

“Well, ground here is always soaking wet, sink into you knees almost. Right now, it’s bone dry,” said Pat McGrath.

McGrath, who’s from the town of Martinsburg, has hauled in more 1,000 gallons of water to his spring.

“I have been here for over 40 years and this is the first time we have had to add water to this spring,” he said.

Since his spring is hard to get to, McGrath is trying to conserve water.

“No washing vehicles, no watering the lawn, no nothing. Just basic what you gotta have,” he said.

In the meantime, both McGrath and the Yousey family say they are hoping for rain.

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