As can be seen on the above “water supply sustainability index” NYS and New England are in pretty good shape waterwise. In the immediate area where I live, we have lake effect off Lake Erie and Lake Ontario that dumps lots of snow on us in the winter and keeps us pretty well watered the rest of the year.
However, there is one issue that anyone thinking of moving to the region should bear in mind. Bill McKibben discussed it at some length in eaarth. That is freakish storms that are becoming increasingly frequent throughout the region. I discussed it on the other climate change threads, but if you’re thinking of living here, you should be aware where you are in a watershed and make sure you aren’t in a flood plain. Most of the northeast is hilly and/or mountainous with many small steep watersheds and villages in the valleys.
McKibben lives in one of those watersheds and so do I. Two years ago we had disastrous flooding when a freak storm dumped 7″ of rain on us in 1 1/2 hours. I sit at the very top of the watershed. Any water on my property flows north, but literally across the street everything flows south. The village four miles and 300′ elevation downstream caught the brunt of our storm. Roads and bridges were washed out. Big trees were flung about like match sticks. Several houses and other buildings were destroyed outright and many more had to be razed later. Two people were killed. Something similar but even more devastating happened last year in the Schoharie Valley north of the Catskill Mountains in the eastern part of the state. Read eaarth for several more examples.
To me the bottom line for our region is that I don’t think we will have many serious water shortages like much of the rest of the country, but the lowlands are at risk for more previously unheard of weather events.
On the bright side, our growing season is getting longer.