The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has placed Centre County and 33 other counties under a drought watch, with one county under a drought warning.
The watch was issued Tuesday, according to the DEP, in response to “low stream flows, declining groundwater levels and below-normal precipitation” across the upper half and south-central portions of the state. Dry conditions have contributed to a rainfall deficit of up to 6 inches over the past 90 days.
Neighboring counties of Clearfield, Clinton, Union, Mifflin, Huntingdon and Blair have also been listed under the drought watch by the DEP. Potter County is the only county listed under a drought warning.
A drought watch is the least severe of the three drought declarations, DEP said, which includes drought watch, warning and emergency. Varying conditions under a drought watch may dictate that water suppliers and municipalities ask for more stringent conservation actions.
DEP recommends the following ways to reduce water use — run water only when necessary, check for household leaks, run dishwashers and washing machines only with full loads, replace older appliances with high-efficiency models and install low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerators on faucets.
“A number of public water systems have already instituted voluntary and mandatory water restrictions to preserve their drinking water supplies,” DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a news release. “We’re asking residents and businesses to use water wisely and follow simple water conservation tips to ease the demand for water.”