Drought Watch Lifted for Eight Pennsylvania Counties, Remains for Six

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HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced changes to drought statuses for several counties in the Commonwealth following a meeting of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force. A drought watch has been lifted for eight counties, while six counties remain on alert.

Bucks, Dauphin, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Lebanon, Montgomery, Northampton, and Perry Counties have all returned to normal status, marking a positive development for residents and industries reliant on water resources in these areas. However, Adams, Cameron, Cumberland, Fulton, and Westmoreland Counties continue to be under a drought watch, with residents encouraged to monitor their water use carefully.

The DEP further reported that York County’s status has been downgraded from a drought warning to a drought watch, indicating some improvement but not complete relief. Meanwhile, residents of Clinton and Franklin Counties are still under a drought warning, the highest level of drought alert issued by the DEP.

Residents living in areas under a drought warning are urged to reduce their individual water use by 10 to 15 percent, equivalent to a daily reduction of six to nine gallons of water. This call for conservation is crucial in ensuring the availability of water resources during periods of drought.

The DEP also provided tips for conserving water at home, including running dishwashers and washing machines less frequently and only with full loads, shortening shower times, checking for and repairing household leaks, installing low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerators on faucets, and replacing older appliances with high-efficiency models.

To determine drought conditions, the DEP assesses data on four indicators: precipitation, surface water flow, groundwater level, and soil moisture. The DEP’s Drought Coordinator, in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), monitors these indicators closely, comparing them to normal ranges over periods of 3-12 months before making drought status recommendations.

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The lifting of the drought watch for eight counties is a positive development, but it also serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges related to water management in the face of changing weather patterns. As Pennsylvanians, it’s important for us to remain vigilant about our water use and conservation efforts, especially in areas still under a drought watch or warning.

This situation highlights the importance of individual actions in conserving water and ensuring the sustainability of our vital water resources. As we move forward, both policy interventions and individual actions will be critical in navigating these complex environmental challenges.

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