Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today issued a drought watch declaration for 34 Pennsylvania counties and a drought warning declaration for Potter County following a meeting of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force where members evaluated recent data that indicate conditions for water supplies are continuing to deteriorate.
The declarations are in response to low stream flows, declining groundwater levels and below-normal precipitation primarily across counties in the upper half and south-central portions of Pennsylvania. These conditions have resulted in rainfall deficits of as much as 6.0 inches during the past 90 days.
“A number of public water systems have already instituted voluntary and mandatory water restrictions to preserve their drinking water supplies,” DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell said. “We’re asking residents and businesses to use water wisely and follow simple water conservation tips to ease the demand for water.”
A drought watch is the least severe of the three drought declarations. It calls for a voluntary 5 percent reduction in non-essential water use. During a drought warning, citizens are encouraged to voluntarily reduce their water use between 10-15 percent in affected counties.
A drought emergency calls for mandatory restrictions on nonessential water use to protect water supplies as well as public health and safety. A drought emergency requires a proclamation from the Governor.
Following is the list of counties under a drought declaration: