LCWSA WATER CUSTOMERS:
After a meeting of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force, DEP added Elk, Lycoming and Tioga counties to the drought watch that was issued August 21 for Armstrong, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Fayette, Huntingdon, Indiana, Juniata, McKean, Mifflin and Perry counties.
Residents in counties on drought watch are asked to reduce their individual water use by 5-10 percent, or 3-6 gallons per day based on a statewide average use of 62 gallons per person per day.
Potter County residents now under drought warning are asked to reduce their individual water use 10-15 percent, or 6-9 gallons per day.
According to DEP, water suppliers in the impacted counties are being advised 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. Already 16 water suppliers have begun asking or requiring residents to reduce their water use.
DEP makes drought watch, warning and emergency declarations based on four 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 declarations 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 more information on the indicators, see the Drought Management in Pennsylvania factsheet.
Among the many ways to reduce water use around the home and yard, according to DEP, are the following:
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.