Drought watch lifted

| 13 Jul 2015 | 11:36

— The drought watch in Pike and 36 other Pennsylvania counties was lifted on June 10 by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

“We have seen an increase in rainfall in many parts of the state that has restored groundwater levels and streamflow,” said DEP Secretary John Quigley. “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 March 24 for Pike and 26 other counties, and expanded on June 17 for 10 additional counties, because of below-average precipitation in the fall, winter and spring, which led to lower than normal groundwater levels. However, precipitation during 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 recommended lifting the watch. No counties remain on the list.

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.

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.

Water conservation tips and additional drought information are available by clicking here or visiting DEP’s website, www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword: drought.