HARRISBURG, Pa., July 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today lifted the drought watch declaration for 37 counties throughout Pennsylvania, based on recommendations from the Pennsylvania Drought Task Force. No counties remain on drought watch.
"We have seen an increase in rainfall in many parts of the state that has restored groundwater levels and streamflow," DEP Secretary John Quigley said. "While conditions have improved, I would encourage all Pennsylvanians to continue to consider their water use and conserve whenever possible."
The drought watch was issued on March 24 for 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 counties. It was expanded on June 17 for Bedford, Blair, Centre, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lehigh, Mifflin, and Northampton counties.
The drought watch was declared because of below-average precipitation in the fall, winter and spring months which led to lower than normal groundwater levels. However, precipitation during the month of June was above average and a review of county monitoring gauges shows that the 30-day average stream flows and groundwater levels have risen to normal or above normal conditions across the state.
The Pennsylvania Drought Task Force uses reports and forecasts from the National Weather Service and U.S. Geological Survey, as well as analysis from DEP's drought monitoring program, to make its recommendations on issuing and lifting declarations. The task force, led by DEP, will continue to monitor conditions across the state.
A drought watch declaration is the first and least-severe level of the state's three drought classifications. It calls for a voluntary five percent reduction in non-essential water use and puts large water consumers on notice to begin planning for the possibility of reduced water supplies.
MEDIA CONTACT: Amanda Witman, 717-787-1323
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection