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Drought Declarations Change for Six PA Counties

Drought Declarations Change for Six Counties


Harrisburg, PA – Following a meeting today of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced drought declaration changes for six counties:

•    Drought watch: Mifflin and Union Counties move from drought warning to drought watch. Berks, Bucks, Centre, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, and Snyder remain on drought watch. DEP encourages a voluntary water use reduction of 5 percent.

  • Normal status: Carbon, Juniata, Monroe, and Schuylkill Counties move from drought watch to normal status.

    “Residents may wonder why some counties on drought watch haven’t been returned to normal status,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Although recent rainfall has, in the short term, put stream flows at normal or even higher than normal levels in these counties, groundwater levels have been lingering below normal. It will take a bit more time for the longer term averages in groundwater level in wells we use for monitoring to reflect more seasonally normal values.”

    DEP bases its declarations on four indicators–precipitation deficits (90-day and longer averages across each county), 30-day moving average stream flows and groundwater levels from numerous monitoring points, as well as soil moisture.

    Public water systems in affected counties continue to implement voluntary and mandatory water reductions in response to reduced supplies. DEP suggests several steps citizens can take to voluntarily reduce their water use:

    •    Run water only when necessary. Don’t let the faucet run while brushing your teeth or shaving. Shorten the amount of time you let the water run to warm up before you shower. Use a bucket to catch the water and then reuse it to water your plants.
    •    Run the dishwasher and washing machine only with full loads.
    •    Check for household leaks. A leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water each day.
    •    Replace older appliances with high-efficiency, front-loading models that use about 30 percent less water and 40 to 50 percent less energy.
    •    Install low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerators on faucets.

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