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We sure could use some rain

Our region, with its lush forests and calming waterways, needs a nice, long steady and soaking rainfall … for a few days at that.

In case you’ve had your head in a well, we’re in a drought.

Specifically, Clinton, Centre and Lycoming Counties are in a “drought watch.”

Potter County, to the north, is in a “drought warning.”

And don’t be fooled: Underground aquifers many of us rely on for water via wells aren’t producing as much water.

Reservoirs that feed public water systems are low in our area.

According to the National Weather Service, our area’s rainfall deficit to normal varies but is approaching 5 inches … and don’t be fooled, that’s a big deficit.

What does it all mean?

Residents are asked to reduce their individual water use 5 percent to 60 gallons per day, based on a statewide average of 62 gallons per person per day.

“We’re asking residents in these 16 counties to use water wisely and follow simple water conservation tips to ease the demand for water,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said.

DEP recommends the following ways to reduce water use:

– 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. Use a bucket to catch the water and then reuse it to water your plants.

– Run the dishwasher and washing machine only with full loads.

– When watering your garden, be efficient and effective: Water in the evening or morning, and direct the water to the ground at the base of the plant, so you don’t waste water through evaporation.

– Check for household leaks. For example, a leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water daily.

– 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.

Varying localized conditions during a drought watch may lead individual water suppliers or municipalities to request more stringent conservation actions by residents. DEP is notifying all water suppliers in these counties of the need to monitor their supplies and be prepared by updating their drought contingency plans as necessary.

Some public water systems have already begun voluntary and mandatory water restrictions to preserve their drinking water supplies.

DEP makes drought watch, warning, or emergency declaration recommendations based on four indicators.

The agency gets stream flow and groundwater level data from a statewide network of gauges maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey.

In addition, DEP monitors precipitation and soil moisture and gets information from public water suppliers.

Rain, rain don’t stay away!

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