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DEP Declares Drought Watch for 36 Counties, Including Lehigh and Northampton | WDIY Local News

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Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

A drought watch has been declared for the eastern half of Pennsylvania, including the Lehigh Valley. WDIY’s Sarit Laschinsky has more.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced Wednesday that a drought watch has been declared in 36 counties across central and eastern Pennsylvania.

Among those are Lehigh and Northampton Counties, as well as nearby Carbon, Monroe, Schuylkill, Berks, Bucks and Montgomery counties.

In a statement, DEP Acting Secretary Ramez Ziadeh said a few counties have experienced very dry conditions over the summer, while others have moved into increasingly dry conditions in recent weeks.

According to DEP, residents on drought watch are advised to voluntarily reduce their individual water use by 5-10%, or a reduction of three to six gallons of water per day.

DEP says it is also notifying all water supplies in the affected counties of the need to monitor their supplies, and to update drought contingency plans. The department added that local conditions may lead suppliers or municipalities to ask residents for more stringent conservation actions.

Residents can conserve water at home in a variety of manners.

  • Run water only when necessary.
  • Use the dishwasher and washing machines less often, and only with full loads.
  • Replace older appliances with high-efficiency, front-loading models.
  • Install low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerators on faucets.
  • Water gardens in the cooler evening or morning hours, and direct the water to the ground at the base of the plant.
  • Water lawns only when necessary, apply no more than one inch of water per week, avoid watering on windy and hot days, and mow the lawn 2-3 inches higher.
  • Sweep your sidewalk, deck or driveway instead of hosing it off.
  • Check for and repair household leaks.
  • Set up a rain barrel to repurpose rainwater.

(Original air-date: 8/31/22)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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