Drought warning stands at 30 counties in Pa.

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Department of Environmental Protection has declared a drought warning for four counties and increased the number of counties on drought watch status to 30, following a meeting Nov. 2 of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force.

“We’re asking residents and businesses, particularly in central and eastern counties, to use water wisely and follow simple water conservation tips to ease the demand for water,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

“We suggest that public water systems that implemented water restrictions this summer continue them to preserve their drinking water supplies,” he said.

Data from the commonwealth drought monitoring network shows dry conditions persisting in the middle of the state and lack of precipitation in the eastern part of the state have deepened precipitation deficits, resulting in extremely low stream flow and groundwater levels, particularly in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas in the Delaware River Basin.

However, to the west of the Appalachian Mountains and extending along the northern tier, above-average precipitation has improved precipitation, surface water, and ground water to normal or above normal levels.

  • Drought warning: Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton Counties. Citizens are encouraged to voluntarily reduce their water use by 10-15 percent.
  • Drought watch: Adams, Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Centre, Chester, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Mifflin, Montgomery, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Union, Wayne and York Counties. Citizens are encouraged to reduce their nonessential water use by 5 percent.
  • Normal status: Potter County was moved from warning status to normal.

The other counties in normal status are Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Blair, Bradford, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Columbia, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Somerset, Susquehanna, Tioga, Venango, Warren, Washington, Westmoreland and Wyoming.

A drought emergency has not been declared for any county.

A drought emergency, which requires a proclamation from the governor, calls for mandatory restrictions on nonessential water use to protect water supplies as well as public health and safety.

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