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State Lifts Drought Watch for Blair County; 20 Counties Remain on Watch


Last updated 12/10/2020 at 12:20pm

Courtesy Pa. DEP

The state-imposed drought watch has been lifted for Armstrong, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Clarion, Erie, Fayette, Huntingdon, Indiana, and Mifflin counties. Three counties remain on drought warning: Clinton, McKean, and Potter counties.

The Commonwealth Drought Task Force of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has lifted drought watch for 10 counties effective Nov. 17, returning those counties to normal status.

Twenty counties remain on drought watch, and three remain on drought warning.

Drought watch has been lifted for Armstrong, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Clarion, Erie, Fayette, Huntingdon, Indiana, and Mifflin counties.

Drought watch remains for Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Columbia, Cumberland, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Juniata, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Warren, and Wyoming counties.

Three counties remain on drought warning: Clinton, McKean, and Potter.

DEP makes drought watch, warning, or emergency declaration recommendations based on four numeric indicators. The agency gets stream flow and groundwater level data from a statewide network of gauges maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey. In addition, DEP monitors precipitation and soil moisture. DEP also factors in information it receives from public water suppliers.

There are normal ranges for all four indicators, and DEP makes its drought status recommendations after assessing the departures from these normal ranges for all indicators for periods of 3-12 months. Declarations are not based on one indicator alone. For details on indicator monitoring, see this fact sheet: Drought Management in Pennsylvania.

A drought emergency has not been declared for any county.

Watches and warnings

Consumers on drought warning are asked to reduce their individual water use 10-15 percent, based on a statewide average of 62 gallons per person per day. This means a reduction of six to nine gallons a day.

Consumers on drought watch are asked to reduce their individual water use 5-10 percent, or a reduction of three to six gallons of water per day.

DEP has notified water suppliers in these counties of the need to monitor their supplies and be prepared by updating their drought contingency plans as necessary. Varying localized conditions may lead water suppliers or municipalities to ask residents for more stringent conservation actions by residents.

Fourteen public water suppliers are requiring consumers to reduce water use. Twelve suppliers are asking consumers to voluntarily make reductions. Find the list at http://www.dep.pa.gov/drought.

Reducing water use

There are many ways to reduce water use around the house and yard, including:

• Run water only when necessary. Don't let the faucet run while brushing your teeth or shaving. Shorten the time you let the water run to warm up before showering. Use a bucket to catch the water and reuse it to water your plants.

• Run the dishwasher and washing machine only with full loads.

When watering your garden, be efficient and effective: Water in the evening or morning, and direct the water to the ground at the base of the plant, so you don't waste water through evaporation.

• Water your lawn sparingly and only if necessary. Over-watering is wasteful, encourages fungal growth, and results in shallow, compacted root systems that are more susceptible to drought.

• Re-use old water from bird baths, vases, or pet bowls to water plants.

• When mowing your lawn, set the blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass shades the soil, improving moisture retention. It also grows thicker and develops a deeper root system, so it can better survive drought.

• Check for household leaks. For example, a leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water daily.

• Sweep your sidewalk, deck, or driveway, rather than hosing it off.

• Replace older appliances with high-efficiency, front-loading models that use about 30 percent less water and 40-50 percent less energy.

• Install low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerators on faucets.


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