Pennsylvania DEP Extends Drought Watch to 53 Counties
The lack of significant rain over most of the state during September
and the beginning October has prompted the state Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) to expand its drought watch declaration
to 53 counties.
The expanded declaration was recommended following a meeting this week of the state's drought task force.
"We are asking everyone in the affected counties to be diligent in
conserving water since long-range forecasts are not predicting the kind
of slow, steady, soaking rain needed to break the drought," DEP
Secretary Kathleen McGinty said on Oct. 5. "In addition, reducing
demand at this time of year is more challenging since most of our water
use is associated with indoor activities."
A drought watch is the first and least severe of the state's three
drought watch declarations. It calls for a voluntary 5 percent
reduction in non-essential water use. A drought warning -- also a
voluntary measure -- asks users to reduce water consumption by 10 to 15
Following an unusually dry summer, DEP declared a drought watch on
Aug. 6 for 58 counties. On Sept. 5, 26 counties were removed from the
drought watch following storms in late August.
On Oct. 5, nine new counties were placed in watch status: Berks,
Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton
and Philadelphia. Additionally, 13 counties re-entered drought watch
status: Armstrong, Butler, Carbon, Clarion, Juniata, Lawrence, Lebanon,
Mercer, Northumberland, Perry, Susquehanna, Tioga and York.