Pennsylvania DEP invokes drought watch declaration for 27 counties
As a result of below-average groundwater and surface water levels across Pennsylvania, the Department of Environmental Protection has invoked a drought watch for 27 counties across the state.
HARRISBURG, PA, May 26, 2015 -- As a result of below-average groundwater and surface water levels across Pennsylvania -- caused by a dry fall and below-normal precipitation in the winter -- the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has invoked a drought watch for 27 counties across the state.
The counties covered under the declaration are: Berks, Bradford, Cambria, Carbon, Clinton, Columbia, Indiana, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne, Westmoreland, and Wyoming.
A drought watch is the first and least-severe level of the state's three drought classifications, calling for a voluntary 5-percent reduction in non-essential water use. DEP has notified all water suppliers in the affected areas of the need to monitor their supplies, particularly those that rely upon groundwater, and update their drought contingency plans as necessary.
Through a cooperative program with the U.S. Geological Survey, DEP helps fund a statewide network of gauges to monitor groundwater levels and stream flows. This network provides the state's drought coordinator with comprehensive data that is used to determine drought classifications.
In addition to precipitation, groundwater and stream flow levels, DEP monitors soil moisture and water supply storage. This data is shared with other state and federal agencies. DEP also offers water conservation recommendations and water audit procedures for commercial and industrial users, such as food processors, hotels and educational institutions.