Drought watch issued for all of Pennsylvania, water conservation recommended, DEP officials announce

The entire state of Pennsylvania is under a drought watch, according to officials with the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection.

The DEP is encouraging all residents and businesses to voluntarily conserve water. Though it is not a requirement, nonessential use of water is now discouraged.

Despite much-needed rainfall last week, the department said the lack of substantial snowfall over the winter, coupled with a drier than average spring, has reduced groundwater levels and stream flows. There has been a consistent precipitation deficit, officials stated.

They went on to add 18 public water suppliers are asking customers for voluntary water conservation. DEP has reached out to all of the state’s water suppliers to monitor their supplies and to update drought plans.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture is encouraging farmers to protect their product.

"It’s critical for farmers, orchard owners and other producers to keep track of losses, and take advantage of federal crop insurance to help recoup those losses and state conservation funding and business planning grants to protect their soil, diversify their operations, and cushion against future weather-related losses. Planning cannot change the weather, but it can help farm businesses manage the risks that come with it," Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said.

DEP listed some tips for consumers to conserve water:

  • Run dishwasher and washing machine less often and only run with full loads.
  • Don’t let faucet run while brushing teeth or shaving. Take short showers.
  • Water the lawn only when necessary. Do not water on windy or hot days.
  • Water garden less often and, whenever possible, water in the early morning. Focus the water on new plantings.
  • Don’t wash the car.
  • Use a rain barrel. For helpful information on rain barrel use, visit the Pennsylvania State Extension website.

For more information and tips on conserving water, visit the Drought and Water Sense page of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website.