HARRISBURG – Due to improving conditions in many parts of the state, Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty lifted the drought watch declaration in 34 counties and upgraded Clinton County from drought warning to drought watch. A drought watch remains in 20 counties where conditions are improving, but have not fully recovered.
“While above-normal precipitation over the last month has helped conditions in most counties return to normal, there are still lingering concerns about groundwater levels in some pockets of the state,” said McGinty, who noted the action was taken following a meeting this week of the state’s drought task force. “For that reason, those counties will remain in a drought watch and residents should continue to conserve water.”
A drought watch is the first and least severe of the state’s three drought declarations. It calls for voluntary conservation of 5 percent of water use. Under a drought warning, also a voluntary measure, residents are asked to reduce their water consumption by 15 percent. A drought emergency calls for mandatory reductions in non-essential water use.
The 34 counties removed from the drought watch are Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Butler, Carbon, Chester, Clarion, Columbia, Delaware, Erie, Forest, Fulton, Greene, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, McKean, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Snyder, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Venango, Washington, Wyoming and York.
Counties that remain under drought watch status are Adams, Berks, Bucks, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Elk, Franklin, Juniata, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Potter, Schuylkill and Union.
“Conditions are continuing to improve across the state, with the exception of a handful of groundwater wells,” McGinty said. “In addition, many public water suppliers have lifted their voluntary or mandatory restrictions for their systems as supplies have increased.”
DEP first declared a drought watch for 58 counties on Aug. 6. For the latest on drought conditions and tips on how to save water, visit here, keyword: drought.