Conserve Water

Six Counties Return to Normal and 15 Counties Remain in Drought Watch or Drought Warning

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today, after a meeting of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force, that six counties will return to normal, with 15 counties in drought watch or drought warning.

Drought watch has been lifted for Berks, Chester, Clarion, Fayette, Lehigh, and Venango counties.

Adams, Bucks, Cameron, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Lebanon, Montgomery, Northampton, and Perry counties remain on drought watch.

Clinton County will return to Drought Watch. Lock Haven City Authority and Suburban Lock Haven Water Authority in Clinton County are currently experiencing supply issues and have requested customers to reduce their water usage where possible.

York County will continue to be in drought warning to support the efforts of water suppliers and their customers to conserve water.

In addition to the multiple public water suppliers implementing voluntary or mandatory water conservation, we see lingering year-to-date precipitation deficits and a handful of groundwater wells that have not fully recovered.

For a map of drought declarations updated daily, see the DEP drought web page.

Residents on drought watch are asked to reduce their individual water use by 5 to 10 percent, or a reduction of three to six gallons of water per day. Residents on drought warning are asked to reduce their individual water use by 10 to 15 percent, or a reduction of six to nine gallons of water per day.

Varying localized conditions may lead water suppliers or municipalities to ask residents for more stringent conservation actions. See the list of public water suppliers that have requested or mandated water conservation in their communities.

Ways to Conserve Water at Home

There are many ways to conserve water at home, including:

  • Run the dishwasher and washing machine less often, and only with full loads.
  • Shorten the time you let the water run to warm up before showering and take shorter showers. The shower and toilet are the two biggest indoor water guzzlers.
  • Check for and repair household leaks. For example, a leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water daily.
  • Install low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerators on faucets.
  • Replace older appliances with high-efficiency, front-loading models that use about 30% less water and 40-50% less energy. 

Find more tips at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Start Saving website.

How DEP Determines Drought Conditions

To determine drought conditions, DEP assesses information from public water suppliers and data on four indicators: precipitation, surface water (stream and river) flow, groundwater level, and soil moisture.

The DEP Drought Coordinator monitors the indicators in close partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which maintains gauges in streams and wells in many locations across Pennsylvania.

There are normal ranges for all four indicators. DEP makes drought status recommendations after assessing departures from these ranges for all indicators for periods of 3-12 months. For a map that’s updated daily to show the status of all four indicators for each county, see the USGS Pennsylvania drought condition monitoring website.

DEP shares these data and its recommendations with the state and federal agencies and other organizations that make up the Commonwealth Drought Task Force. Declarations are determined by DEP, with the concurrence of the task force.

For more information on how DEP monitors conditions and makes drought status declarations, see the drought management fact sheet.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | 10/20/2023 - CONTACT: DEP Press Team| 717-787-1323

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