DEP Issues Drought Warning For 36 Pennsylvania Counties

A drought warning is currently in effect for 36 Pennsylvania Counties.

PENNSYLVANIA STATE | On Aug 31, 2022, The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commonwealth Drought Task Force declared a drought watch for 36 counties. The DEP requests that residents voluntarily conserve water in those counties by reducing usage by 5 to 10%, or three to six gallons per day.

“A few counties have experienced very dry conditions over the summer, and a number of others have inched into increasingly dry conditions in recent weeks. We’re asking Pennsylvanians in all of these counties to use water wisely and follow simple water conservation tips to ease the demand for water,” said DEP Acting Secretary Ramez Ziadeh. 

Drought watches have been issued for the following counties: Berks, Bucks, Bradford, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Dauphin, Delaware, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne, and Wyoming. See the DEP website for daily updates to the drought map

The DEP recommends the following methods to conserve water at home:

  •   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. 
  •  Run the dishwasher and washing machine less often, and only with full loads.
  •  Water your garden in the cooler evening or morning hours, and direct the water to the ground at the base of the plant, so you don’t waste water through evaporation.
  •  Water your lawn only if necessary. Apply no more than 1 inch of water per week (use an empty can to determine how long it takes to water 1 inch). Avoid watering on windy and hot days. This pattern will encourage healthier, deeper grassroots. Over-watering is wasteful, encourages fungal growth and disease, and results in shallow, compacted root systems more susceptible to drought.
  •  Set the blades to 2-3 inches high when mowing your lawn. Longer grass shades the soil, improving moisture retention. It also grows thicker and develops a deeper root system to survive drought better.
  •  Check for and repair household leaks. For example, a leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water daily.
  •  Sweep your sidewalk, deck, or driveway instead of hosing it off.
  •  Replace older appliances with high-efficiency, front-loading models that use about 30 percent less water and 40-50 percent less energy.
  •  Install low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerators on faucets.
  •  Set up a rain barrel to be ready to repurpose rain when it does fall. For information, see this Penn State Extension guide.

See the drought management fact sheet for more information on how the DEP monitors conditions and makes drought status declarations.