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September 09, 2016

Three local counties placed under drought watch

Five percent voluntary water use reductions requested

A drought watch was declared this week in three local counties by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The DEP issued a drought watch declaration for Chester, Delaware and Philadelphia counties, citing low stream flows, declining groundwater levels and lack of precipitation. All told, 38 Pennsylvania counties are now under a drought watch.

Under a drought watch, citizens are asked to voluntarily reduce non-essential water use by five percent. No mandatory water use restrictions are in place.

“Below-normal precipitation across most of the state has resulted in instantaneous stream flows declining in the central and eastern part of the state,” DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a statement. “We’re asking residents to continue to conserve water in order to preserve adequate drinking water supplies.”


Thirty-eight Pennsylvania counties are under a drought watch. Potter County is the lone county in the state under a drought warning.

The DEP recommends the following ways to reduce water usage:

• Run water only when necessary. Avoid running the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving, or letting the shower run for several minutes before use.

• Check for household leaks. A leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water each day.

• Run dishwashers and washing machines only with full loads.

• Replace older appliances with high-efficiency, front-loading models that use about 30 percent less water and 40 to 50 percent less energy.

• Install low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerators on faucets.

County agencies will monitor the situation for the duration of the drought watch.