PA DEP Lifts Drought Watch in 29 Counties

January 26, 2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Environmental Protection acting Secretary John Hanger lifted the drought watch declaration for 29 counties today in western and north central Pennsylvania citing improved groundwater and streamflow levels.

The affected counties include Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Somerset, Tioga, Venango, Warren, Washington, and Westmoreland counties.

“Although we saw below-average precipitation through much of the autumn, precipitation during the month of December was two to five inches above average and a review of county monitoring gauges shows that average stream flows have risen to above normal conditions across the state,” Hanger said. “Based upon reports and forecasts from the National Weather Service and data from DEP’s drought monitoring network, the Pennsylvania Drought Task Force has recommended that the drought watch be lifted in these counties.”

The drought watch was declared on Nov. 7 following months of below-normal rainfall in western and north central parts of the state that resulted in low streamflow conditions and precipitation deficits of as much as 8 inches.

A drought watch declaration is the first level — and least severe — of the state’s three drought classifications. It calls for a voluntary 5 percent reduction in non-essential water use.

DEP offers conservation recommendations for residential water users as well as commercial and industrial users such as food processors, hotels and motels, schools and colleges.

Water conservation tips and drought information can be found online at www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: drought.

    CONTACT: Tom Rathbun
             (717) 787-1323

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Source: newswire

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