Schuylkill County residents are being asked to voluntarily reduce their water use after the state’s Dept. of Environmental Protection placed the area under a Drought Watch on Wednesday.
A total of 36 counties were placed under a Drought Watch by DEP. Much of central, northeast, and southeast Pennsylvania is included in the watch. Here’s all the counties under Drought Watch:
DEP says it uses 4 main indicators when determining if an area should be placed under a Drought Watch:
- Surface water flow
- Groundwater level
- Soil moisture
Pottsville, like all of Schuylkill County, has been bone dry all summer. By our estimation, the rain we received earlier this week was more than what fell all summer prior. That’s unofficial, of course, but we’ve endured weeks at a time without rain here.
If dry conditions persist, Schuylkill or any other county in a Drought Watch could be upgraded to a Drought Warning and then a Drought Emergency, which would require the Governor’s approval. No Pennsylvania county is under anything more severe than a Drought Watch.
DEP asks residents affected by a Drought Watch to reduce water use by 5-10%. That’s about 3-6 gallons per day.
Water suppliers in drought-affected areas are currently being advised to update drought plans. These suppliers, like Schuylkill County Municipal Authority, may ask residents to reduce water use. In some instances, they may try to require reduced use. That’s currently the case in some areas of Potter and Lycoming counties, according to DEP.