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Drought watch lifed in Schuylkill, four other counties

A drought watch has been lifted in Schuylkill, Carbon, Luzerne, Northampton and Potter counties, and hydrologic conditions are normal statewide, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced last week.

The Palmerton Municipal Water Authority in Carbon County remains on voluntary restrictions, but groundwater indicators for that county has returned to normal and precipitation has been sufficient to support groundwater recharge, DEP officials said in their announcement.

The drought watch took effect in late August in 36 eastern Pennsylvania counties due to a dry summer. The watch was gradually lifted in other counties in October and December. Water use restrictions were recommended but not required while the drought watch was in effect.

To determine drought conditions, the DEP drought coordinator assesses information from public water suppliers and data on four indicators: precipitation, surface water (stream and river) flow, groundwater level, and soil moisture. This is done in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, which maintains gauges in streams and wells in many locations across Pennsylvania.

DEP makes drought status recommendations after assessing departures from normal ranges for all indicators for periods of three to 12 months. The agency shares these data and its recommendations with the state and federal agencies and other organizations that make up the Commonwealth Drought Task Force. Declarations are determined by DEP, with the concurrence of the task force.

Source: Berkshire mont

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