Whether you look at the glass as half empty or half full, reservoirs at 52
percent of capacity for a major metropolitan area spell trouble.
On March 26, 2002, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared a drought emergency
for the city and four upstate counties in response to the worst drought to hit
the eastern United States in nearly 70 years. Restrictions on water use will
affect more than 8 million residents of New York. Further evidence of the
extent of New Yorks current drought emergency can be seen in new images taken
by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER)
on NASAs Terra satellite.
The ASTER image pair depicts a 215-square-kilometer (80-square-mile) area
around Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskill Mountains, one of several Catskill
reservoirs that supply water to the New York City metropolitan area. The
images, taken September 18, 2000, and February 3, 2002, show a dramatic decrease
in reservoir water level to the current 52 percent of capacity.
More than 64 million people are directly affected by drought in the Southwest and Southern Plains, and far more are indirectly affected because of the vast number of farms, orchards, and ranches that supply the rest of the United States.