Be Groundwater Aware

Groundwater Awareness Week March 10-16, 2013

Some 44 percent of the U.S. population depends on groundwater, the water that fills cracks and other openings in beds of rock and sand, for its drinking water supply — be it from either a public source or private well. In rural areas, the number is about 96 percent. That fact alone justifies the need for National Groundwater Awareness Week, to be observed March 10-16, 2013. But groundwater is important to us in many other ways, as well.

Read more (pdf)
Groundwater Awareness Week March 10-16, 2013

Check out some of our presentations related to groundwater

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Rural road program aims to keep dirty runoff out of streams amid drilling boom

citizensvoice.com/news/rural-road-program-aims-to-keep-dirty-runoff-out-of-streams-amid-drilling-boom-1.1408078
By Laura Legere (staff writer)
Published: November 25, 2012

DIMOCK TWP. – Everywhere Tim Ziegler travels dirt tracks and gravel roads in rural Pennsylvania, he sees an insidious threat of pollution beneath his tires.

Sediment is the largest pollutant by volume in the commonwealth’s streams, degrading water quality, smothering natural vegetation and destroying fish habitat.

Worn dirt roads and their ditches are a potent source of grit and Pennsylvania has more than 20,000 miles of them.

Ziegler has driven many of those stretches, spreading the gospel of drainage. He works for the Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies at Penn State University, which helps townships, companies and other agencies build and maintain unpaved roads in an environmentally protective way. Its toll-free number is 1-866-NO-TO-MUD.

The highest density of dirt roads in the state coincides with the richest spots for Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling and Ziegler’s work in recent years has focused on that intersection.

Shale development presents both a challenge and an opportunity for rural road infrastructure: Heavy haulers rut the roads, but posted and bonded thoroughfares have to be returned to their prior condition and companies routinely strengthen the roads before they run trucks on them or improve them beyond their previous state.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition calculated that its member companies spent more than $411 million on road construction in Pennsylvania between 2008 and the middle of 2011.

The problem, Ziegler said, is that much of the companies’ attention and money has been spent reinforcing the roads’ surface while leaving the old drainage infrastructure in place. The hardened, widened roads increase the amount of runoff during rainstorms, exacerbating existing sediment pollution pathways and adding to the likelihood and severity of flash flooding in nearby streams.

“There’s an opportunity that we’re losing here,” he said.

During a recent field trip to a reinforced stretch of road in Susquehanna County, he demonstrated that roads built without protective drainage in mind are also less likely to last.

Like many Pennsylvania gravel roads renovated to withstand thousands of drilling-related truck trips, Hunter Road in Dimmock Township is not strictly gravel anymore. The surface has been solidified with cement.

But the improvements constructed in 2010 are already starting to show wear. A jagged rut snakes under one tire track, a washed-out pile of the new road material threatens to clog a stream pipe that steers a small tributary under the road, and the rush of stormwater where one ditch intercepts another has undermined the road base, leaving the concrete jutting a foot or more over open air.

At the valley intersection of three steep roads, more than a mile of road surface plus half of a gas well pad drains to one small stream.

That system, and its impacts, are only associated with one pad among the thousands built or planned in the state, Ziegler said.

“We’ve got to look at how we’re going to handle this with such an intensive, widespread development across the rural landscape.”

Many solutions are known and affordable, especially for companies already investing in road-repair projects.

Roads should be constructed with several drainage cross pipes and diversion points to interrupt sheets of water and disperse the flow in a way that more closely mimics nature, he said.

Together, the improvements “cut one big watershed” – the uninterrupted ditch – “into lots of little watersheds.”

The center has cooperated with several companies, including Range Resources, Enerplus and Carrizo Oil and Gas among others, to offer tips and suggestions on proper drainage infrastructure.

But Ziegler looks at the effort and money invested in already-cracking Hunter Road and sees much room for improvement.

“It’s just a matter of looking at things a little differently,” he said.

llegere@timesshamrock.com

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How Does Groundwater Pumping Affect Streamflow?

www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3458&from=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+usgs%2FWater+(Newsroom+-+Water+Releases)#.UKecVYXbaWU
Released: 11/16/2012

New USGS Report Describes Processes and Misconceptions Concerning the Effects of Groundwater Pumping on Streamflow

Groundwater provides drinking water for millions of Americans and is the primary source of water to irrigate cropland in many of the nations most productive agricultural settings. Although the benefits of groundwater development are many, groundwater pumping can reduce the flow of water in connected streams and rivers—a process called streamflow depletion by wells. The USGS has released a new report that summarizes the body of knowledge on streamflow depletion, highlights common misconceptions, and presents new concepts to help water managers and others understand the effects of groundwater pumping on surface water.

“Groundwater discharge is a critical part of flow in most streams–and the more we pump below the ground, the more we deplete water flowing down the stream,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt.  “When viewed over the long term, it is one big zero-sum game.”

Groundwater and surface-water systems are connected, and groundwater discharge is often a substantial component of the total flow of a stream. In many areas of the country, pumping wells capture groundwater that would otherwise discharge to connected streams, rivers, and other surface-water bodies. Groundwater pumping can also draw streamflow into connected aquifers where pumping rates are relatively large or where the locations of pumping are relatively close to a stream.

“Streamflow depletion caused by pumping is an important water-resource management issue across the nation because of the adverse effects that reduced flows can have on aquatic ecosystems, the availability of surface water, and the quality and aesthetic value of streams and rivers,” said Paul Barlow, USGS hydrologist and author on the report. “Managing the effects of streamflow depletion by wells is challenging, particularly because of the significant time delays that often occur between when pumping begins and when the effects of that pumping are realized in nearby streams. This report will help managers understand the many factors that control the timing, rates, and locations of streamflow depletion caused by pumping.”

Major conclusions from the report:

• Individual wells may have little effect on streamflow depletion, but small effects of many wells pumping within a basin can combine to produce substantial effects on streamflow and aquatic habitats.
• Basinwide groundwater development typically occurs over a period of several decades, and the resulting cumulative effects on streamflow depletion may not be fully realized for years.
• Streamflow depletion continues for some time after pumping stops because it takes time for a groundwater system to recover from the previous pumping stress. In some aquifers, maximum rates of streamflow depletion may occur long after pumping stops, and full recovery of the groundwater system may take decades to centuries.
• Streamflow depletion can affect water quality in the stream or in the aquifer. For example, in many areas, groundwater discharge cools stream temperatures in the summer and warms stream temperatures in the winter, providing a suitable year-round habitat for fish. Reductions in groundwater discharge to streams caused by pumping can degrade habitat by warming stream temperatures during the summer and cooling stream temperatures during the winter.
• The major factors that affect the timing of streamflow depletion are the distance from the well to the stream and the properties and geologic structure of the aquifer.
• Sustainable rates of groundwater pumping near streams do not depend on the rates at which groundwater systems are naturally replenished (or recharged), but on the total flow rates of the streams and the amount of reduced streamflow that a community or regulatory authority is willing to accept.
“Conjunctive management of groundwater and surface-water resources is critical in New Mexico, where our limited surface-water supplies can be impacted by new uses that are predominantly dependent on groundwater pumping,” said Mike Johnson, Chief of the Hydrology Bureau in the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer. “This new USGS publication consolidates our understanding of the connection between aquifers and streams and provides a clear, thorough and up-to-date explanation of the tools and techniques used to evaluate streamflow depletion by wells.  This report will be very useful to New Mexico’s water managers in guiding technical analysis, dispelling common misconceptions, and explaining these complex concepts to decision makers and the public.”

The report, which is a product of the USGS Groundwater Resources Program, is titled “Streamflow Depletion by Wells—Understanding and Managing the Effects of Groundwater Pumping on Streamflow” and is available in print and online. [ http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1376/ ]

The Groundwater Resources Program provides objective scientific information and develops the interdisciplinary understanding necessary to assess and quantify the availability of the nation’s groundwater  resources. The Program has been instrumental in documenting groundwater declines and in developing groundwater-flow models for use in sustainably managing withdrawals. The research and understanding developed through this program can provide water-resource managers with the tools and information needed to manage this important natural resource.

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192

Paul  Barlow
Phone: 508-490-5070
pbarlow@usgs.gov

Kara Capelli
Phone: 571-420-9408
kcapelli@usgs.gov

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Weather story so far this year: Drought averted

live.psu.edu/story/60086#nw69
June 15, 2012

In the eastern half of Pennsylvania, last month was one of the top 20 wettest Mays on record.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The final chapters of the weather story for 2012, of course, have yet to be written, but halfway through the year the plot will surely focus on the dramatic swing in precipitation trends, according to a hydrologist in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

After the extremely warm and dry winter Pennsylvania experienced — one of the mildest since records began being kept — very dry conditions prevailed, and there was no snow in the mountains to melt and replenish streams and groundwater. That led to drought worries, noted Bryan Swistock, extension water resources specialist.

“Most people were probably not aware of it, but by the end of April, there were definitely real concerns about a drought,” he said.”To be that dry, at that time of year when it is usually wet — it looked like a bad situation. We were set up for a pretty severe drought if things had not changed.”

But change they did, in a major way.

It started raining frequently in May, and it has not stopped. In fact, in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, it was one of the top 20 wettest Mays on record, Swistock pointed out. Except for northwestern counties, which remain slightly below average levels of precipitation, most areas of the state are now at or above average for precipitation.

“The change in weather patterns has been dramatic,” he said. “And the long-term weather predictions that I have seen indicate the wet weather will continue.”

Some climatologists attribute the abrupt change in weather patterns to the transformation of ocean currents in the South Pacific that affect weather — from a La Niña phenomenon to an El Niño.

“Everything that I’ve been reading from the climatologists suggests that there will be more of the wet weather we have been seeing in Pennsylvania,” Swistock said. “And under this El Niño scenario, they predict we are likely to get more tropical storms. If the remnants from even one hurricane or tropical storm track directly over the state this summer or fall, that could have a huge impact.”

Penn State weather expert Paul Knight, senior lecturer in meteorology, Weather World host and Pennsylvania state climatologist, is dubious about the connection between Pennsylvania’s spring and summer weather and Pacific Ocean currents. But he agrees that the wet weather trend should continue for awhile.

“El Niño effects are much stronger in the wintertime — the summer season is really a muted message at best,” he said. “I don’t think that there is any clear message that Pennsylvania is more likely to see more tropical cyclones in an El Niño year versus an average year.

“Now will there be more storms in an El Niño? The answer is yes, El Niño years normally produce a few more storms. However, El Niño and La Niña are never potent in May, June and July.”

The dominant story of Pennsylvania’s weather so far in 2012 is that it’s been so mild, Knight explained. The first half of the year has been exceptionally warm — 4 or 5 degrees above normal.

“That March warm spell was really unprecedented,” Knight said. “The other thing is that January, February, March and April all averaged well below normal precipitation. And just about the time we were getting uncomfortably dry — and we were well on our way toward a drought — the rains came just in the nick of time.

“Drought averted.”

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Lack of snow and rain prompt Pa. officials to discuss drought potential

www.therepublic.com/view/story/33c64dbf097042838eb0ad5d3aa8f9a5/PA–Drought-Fears/

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Just after Pennsylvanians dried off from one of the wettest years on record, professional weather-watchers are becoming concerned about a potential drought in the central and eastern parts of the state.

The state’s Drought Task Force, which includes representatives of the Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the National Weather Service and other government agencies, will meet April 25 to discuss the effects of a winter with little snowfall and a drier-than-usual spring, officials said Tuesday.

It remains to be seen whether that leads to the DEP declaring a drought watch encouraging residents in certain areas to conserve water, as Maryland officials did last week for most of the Eastern Shore.

“At this point we’re not taking any action,” said Ruth Miller of PEMA, which helped direct relief efforts during last year’s historic flooding from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, which killed 18 people and damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses.

Now, in contrast to those back-to-back disasters in August and September, the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers are flowing at record low rates for this time of year.

Susan Weaver, a DEP official who serves as the state drought coordinator, said officials assess data on precipitation,  surface water, ground water and soil moisture in 90-day increments before deciding whether to issue a drought watch or a more emphatic drought warning.

“The tough part is what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Weaver said.

In August, “we issued a drought watch and I swear to God the next day it started to rain and it didn’t stop,” she said.

On Tuesday, the Susquehanna was flowing at around 14,000 cubic feet per second — less than 20 percent of its normal rate and the slowest flow since 1910, said hydrologist Charles Ross at the weather service office in State College. The average depth was barely half the normal seven feet, he said.

Still, “all it’s going to take is some average rain and we’ll probably be in pretty good shape,” Ross said.

The situation was similar on the Delaware, where the flow in Trenton, N.J., was measured at less than 4,000 cubic feet per second — the lowest for that date in the 98 years it has been measured.

“We’ve actually been setting records for a week or so,” said Clarke Rupert, spokesman for the Delaware River Basin Commission.

Susan Obleski, spokeswoman for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, said dry conditions along streams that feed the river have led the commission to temporarily suspend permits that allow some natural gas drilling companies to use that water. So far, 14 permits held by eight companies have been suspended.

“They have multiple sources (of water), so it doesn’t mean that (a) particular company would shut down,” she said.

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Growing drought threatening well-water levels across state

http://live.psu.edu/story/48713/nw69
Penn State Ag Sciences Newswire – 9.27.2010

Growing drought threatening well-water levels across state

Friday, September 24, 2010

University Park, Pa. — After months of very little rainfall, and with long-term weather forecasts predicting little improvement through fall and early winter, well owners across the state have begun to grow uneasy, according to a groundwater expert in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

All of Pennsylvania is under a drought watch, and state officials recently declared a drought warning for 24 counties. The driest counties are in the far eastern and far western parts of the state, bordering Ohio and New Jersey. There is also a very dry region in the southwest around Somerset.

“The last serious drought we had that affected groundwater and well levels across Pennsylvania was in 2002, and I have already begun hearing from some of the people who experienced water-quantity problems with their wells then,” said Bryan Swistock, water resources extension specialist in the college’s School of Forest Resources. “Well owners should be conserving their water.”

This drought started in April, which was a dry month around the state, according to Swistock. That was followed by sporadically dry May, June and July. “August and especially September were very dry  throughout the state,” he said. “The drought accelerated pretty rapidly.”

Historically, the current dry conditions are not that impressive, Swistock conceded, but he’s concerned by the current trend. “This drought so far is not a record-breaker by any means, but 2010 was in the top one-third or one-fourth of the state’s drier years in the records going back into the 1800s,” he explained.

“The official NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) long-term weather forecast indicates that this drought will be persistent in Pennsylvania through the winter. It may not get worse, but the outlook shows it is not likely to improve.”

The one caveat in the dry weather forecast is the unpredictable nature of tropical moisture that could find its way to Pennsylvania and ease drought conditions.

“If remnants of one or two of the tropical storms that form in the south Atlantic this fall move northward and track over Pennsylvania, they could eliminate the drought,” Swistock said. “There is a lot of tropical moisture around — but none of it has found its way to Pennsylvania yet.”

To recharge water tables and boost well-water levels, rains must fall before the ground freezes — usually in December — because after that, precipitation is not absorbed by the ground and simply runs off, Swistock pointed out. “We are now at our traditional annual low point for streams and groundwater,” he said.

“This is a critical recharge period we are entering — it’s a dangerous time to be in a drought condition.”

What you can do

Water-conservation measures become critical during times of drought. Homeowners relying on private wells can significantly reduce water consumption by changing habits and installing water-saving devices, according to Swistock.

“In emergency situations, changes in water-use habits can provide quick reductions in water use,” he said. “Examples include flushing the toilet less often, taking shorter showers, washing only full loads of dishes or laundry, and collecting water from roof gutters for outside use.”

It is important to note that certain drought declarations also may require water-use reductions or restrictions on water use, Swistock said. For example, a “drought emergency” declaration bans the nonessential use of water, such as car washing and lawn watering. These regulations apply to everyone, including homeowners with private wells.

Swistock advised water-well owners to monitor nearby groundwater levels online. “You might be able to detect potential problems early and implement water-conservation strategies that may prevent your well from going dry,” he said.

For more information on ways to save water around the home, consult the Penn State Cooperative Extension publications, “22 Ways to Save Water in an Emergency,” “Household Water Conservation” and “Managing Your Well During a Drought.” These publications are available at http://extension.psu.edu/water online.

You can learn about groundwater levels in your area through a website provided by the U.S Geologic Survey. Although not specific to your well, information from monitoring wells will allow you to observe the general trend in groundwater levels in your area. For a list of the available monitoring wells by county, go to http://pa.water.usgs.gov/durplots/well_duration.html online.

For more information on management of wells and springs in Pennsylvania, visit http://www.sfr.cas.psu.edu/water or contact your local Cooperative Extension office.

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Shortage of rain must be taken seriously

http://www.tnonline.com/node/135919
Reported on Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Drought warning
Shortage of rain must be taken seriously

Last week, the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a drought warning for our newspaper’s entire coverage area – Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill Counties.

The combination of lower rain than usual with the excessive summer heat has resulted in stream levels being well below normal.

One only has to see the receding shore line at Mauch Chunk Lake Park to understand how critical the water level has become.

The National Weather Service says rainfall is four inches below normal for the past 90 days in the Lehigh Valley. Carbon County has a 4.5 inch deficit for 90 days while in Monroe County, there is a 5.2 inch rainfall shortage for the three-month period.

The DEP is asking people to conserve water. One of the most common sources of waste water is a leak within your residence, such as a toilet. DEP says a leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day. Although many households are strapped for cash right now, fixing such a leak should be a priority since it can also reduce your monthly water bill.

DEP encourages residents to conserve water by taking showers instead of baths.

Also, keep water in the refrigerator to avoid running water from a faucet until it is cold.

Run your dishwasher only when it is full.

Water is a precious resource and we can’t ignore the fact that levels at our storage facilities are being reduced by the lack of rain. Generally, the water lines aren’t fully restored until spring when a  good snow pack melts. A dry winter will make things very critical, so it’s best to start conserving now.

This is especially true if you rely on wells rather than city water.

The DEP could do more to help the situation by making its Web site more user friendly with drought advice, suggestions, and information. Very little is stated on the DEP site about the drought conditions.

After all, it is the DEP which issues drought warnings.

We agree that there is a drought. We have to think ahead, though, to assure that if the drought continues, we’ll still have enough water to meet our every day needs.

By Ron Gower
rgower@tnonline.com

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Carbon County, PA Water deficit

http://www.tnonline.com/node/136939
Reported on Friday, September 24, 2010

Carbon County, PA Water deficit
Drought raises concern with local officials

By AMY MILLER amiller@tnonline.com

Carbon County has seen the effects of lower than normal rainfalls over the summer.

During the county commissioners’ meeting on Thursday, Commissioner Wayne Nothstein provided an update on the drought warning that was issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection last Thursday. A drought warning is issued when areas see a significant precipitation deficit as a result of little to no rainfall over a 90-day period. In some counties throughout Pennsylvania, deficits are as great as 5.6 inches below normal.

Nothstein said that Beltzville Lake, located near Lehighton, is down 15 feet as a result of dam releases that are needed to keep the salt water levels down in the rivers; as well as evaporation.

On Wednesday, officials at the lake closed the boat launches at Beltzville for the season because levels were so low.

Nothstein also said that Mauch Chunk Lake is experiencing lower than normal levels. Last week, the lake was down a total of 50 inches, but as of yesterday, the lake was showing that it was down 54 inches.

“It looks like the lake is losing a half inch a day,” he said. “I want to remind everyone, especially in the west side of Jim Thorpe, that is where the water supply comes from for Jim Thorpe.”

Nothstein added that the Lehigh River is also operating on less than half of its normal flow.

“As of Wednesday, the river was flowing at 169 cubic feet per second, which equates to 76,000 gallons per minute,” he said. “The average (normal flow of the Lehigh) over a 27-year period is 167,000 gallons a minute.”

Mark Nalesnik, Carbon County Emergency Management Agency coordinator, also noted that he was told the recreation pool at the Francis E. Walter Dam is completely used up.

He and Nothstein urge residents to try to conserve water usage when they can until the county gets a significant rainfall.

“It’s necessary to conserve water at this point,” Nalesnik said.

Four burn bans have also been put into place in municipalities throughout the county as a result of the drier than normal conditions. Those municipalities include Nesquehoning, Bowmanstown, East Penn Township and Jim Thorpe.

To conserve water, DEP suggests fixing any leaks in household plumbing, installing low-flow or aerators nozzles on shower heads and faucets, taking short showers instead of baths, replacing older washers with front loading washers, running the dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full, avoid running water excessively.

For more tips on conserving water, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: drought.

In a related matter, Nothstein also announced that there is help for farmers that have been affected by the drought.

He read a portion of a press release from Speaker of the House Keith McCall (D-Carbon), stating that farmers in Carbon County are eligible to apply for low-interest emergency disaster assistance loans from the federal Department of Agriculture to help recover crop losses associated with the summer’s dry weather.

To apply for the loan, farmers need to contact the Carbon County Farm Service Agency in Lehighton at (610) 377-6300 or visit www.fsa.usda.gov.

Farmers have eight months from Sept. 10, to apply for the loans, the press release states.

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Emergency drought relief loans available for farmers

http://www.tnonline.com/node/135921
Reported on Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Emergency drought relief loans available for farmers

State Rep. Keith McCall said that farmers in Carbon County are eligible to apply for low-interest emergency disaster assistance loans from the federal Department of Agriculture to help recover crop losses associated with the summer’s dry weather.

“The extreme heat and lack of rainfall has had a negative impact on Carbon County’s farmers this year, and I’m glad the federal government is making these loans available to help our farm families stay afloat and keep their farms up and running,” McCall said. “I hope every farmer affected by the drought conditions will apply for this funding.”

Farmers can apply for the loans through the Carbon County Farm Service Agency in Lehighton at (610) 377-6300 or by visiting the department online at www.fsa.usda.gov.

Besides Carbon County, 15 other counties in the region were declared primary disaster areas: Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Snyder, Union and York.

In addition, 22 counties bordering the primary disaster area were named contiguous disaster areas: Adams, Bedford, Berks, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Delaware, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Sullivan, Wayne and Wyoming.

Farmers in all affected counties have eight months from the Sept. 10 date of disaster declaration to apply for the loans, and each application will be considered based on losses, available resources and ability to repay.

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Drought warning

http://www.tnonline.com/node/135919
Reported on Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Drought warning

Shortage of rain must be taken seriously

Last week, the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a drought warning for our newspaper’s entire coverage area – Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill Counties.

The combination of lower rain than usual with the excessive summer heat has resulted in stream levels being well below normal.

One only has to see the receding shore line at Mauch Chunk Lake Park to understand how critical the water level has become.

The National Weather Service says rainfall is four inches below normal for the past 90 days in the Lehigh Valley. Carbon County has a 4.5 inch deficit for 90 days while in Monroe County, there is a 5.2 inch rainfall shortage for the three-month period.

The DEP is asking people to conserve water. One of the most common sources of waste water is a leak within your residence, such as a toilet. DEP says a leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day. Although many households are strapped for cash right now, fixing such a leak should be a priority since it can also reduce your monthly water bill.

DEP encourages residents to conserve water by taking showers instead of baths.

Also, keep water in the refrigerator to avoid running water from a faucet until it is cold.

Run your dishwasher only when it is full.

Water is a precious resource and we can’t ignore the fact that levels at our storage facilities are being reduced by the lack of rain. Generally, the water lines aren’t fully restored until spring when a  good snow pack melts. A dry winter will make things very critical, so it’s best to start conserving now.

This is especially true if you rely on wells rather than city water.

The DEP could do more to help the situation by making its Web site more user friendly with drought advice, suggestions, and information. Very little is stated on the DEP site about the drought conditions.

After all, it is the DEP which issues drought warnings.

We agree that there is a drought. We have to think ahead, though, to assure that if the drought continues, we’ll still have enough water to meet our every day needs.

By Ron Gower
rgower@tnonline.com

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