HARRISBURG – Based on the Pennsylvania Drought Task Force’s recommendations, the Department of Environmental Protection today lifted a drought watch declaration in four northern counties. The action means all 67 counties are now at normal status.
On Sept. 2, DEP lifted drought declarations for 40 counties in the eastern and southern parts of the state. At that time, four northern counties had not recovered sufficiently and were kept in drought watch because the 90-day precipitation deficits were as great as four inches.
“The substantial rain we have received over the past two months, particularly for eastern and central Pennsylvania, has made significant impact on returning all drought monitoring indicators to normal,” Secretary Mike Krancer said. “This has also erased the 90-day precipitation deficits in the northwest and north-central areas of the state.”
Effective today, drought watch designations were lifted in Cameron, Elk, McKean and Potter counties. The Pennsylvania Drought Task Force used reports and forecasts from the National Weather Service in conjunction with DEP’s drought monitoring program to make the recommendation.
A drought watch declaration, the first and least severe level of the state’s three drought classifications, calls for a voluntary five-percent reduction in non-essential water use. A drought warning is the second-level classification, and asks residents to voluntarily reduce water use by 10 to 15 percent. A drought emergency is declared through proclamation by the governor, bans non-essential water use and requires public water suppliers to implement contingency plans.
DEP offers conservation recommendations for residential water users as well as commercial and industrial users, such as food processors, hotels and motels, schools and universities. Water conservation tips and drought information can be found at www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: drought.