DEP increases drought warning to 8 counties

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has placed four more counties on drought warning status following a meeting today of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force.

While recent precipitation over the past few weeks helped the dry conditions in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, the central part of the state still has persistent 90-day precipitation shortage of up to 4 inches from normal as well as low groundwater and stream levels.

Mifflin, Juniata, Snyder, and Union Counties were moved from drought watch to drought warning status.  Snyder has a precipitation deficit of 11 inches from normal over the past year.

Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, and Northampton counties have been added to the drought warning list.

Counties on the drought watch are Adams, Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Centre, Chester, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Labanon, Luzerne, Montgomery, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Wayne and York counties. Residents are encouraged to reduce their nonessential water use by 5 percent.

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.

For more information visit the DEP website.