HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced on Wednesday, Aug. 31 that the Commonwealth Drought Task Force has declared a drought watch for 36 counties in the state.

Courtesy of The Department of Environmental Protection

The DEP is also asking for voluntary water conservation for the counties where the drought watch was issued.

“A few counties have experienced very dry conditions over the summer, and a number of others have inched into increasingly dry conditions in recent weeks. We’re asking Pennsylvanians in all of these counties to use water wisely and follow simple water conservation tips to ease the demand for water,” DEP Acting Secretary Ramez Ziadeh said.

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The following Midstate counties are affected by the drought watch.

  • Dauphin
  • Juniata
  • Lebanon
  • Mifflin
  • Perry

abc27 meteorologist Dan Tomaso says hit-and-miss showers and thunderstorms have passed through the Midstate, but more widespread rain is needed to help with drought conditions.

Residents that are located on the drought watch are asked to reduce water use by 5% to 10% per person, which equates to three or six gallons of water.

Some ways that you are able to conserve water at home are:

  • 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.
  • Check for and repair household leaks. For example, a leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water daily.
  • Water your lawn only if necessary. Apply no more than 1 inch of water per week (use an empty can determine how long it takes to water 1 inch).
  • Avoid watering on windy and hot days. This pattern will encourage healthier, deeper grassroots. Over-watering is wasteful, encourages fungal growth and disease, and results in shallow, compacted root systems that are more susceptible to drought.

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The DEP Drought Coordinator monitors the indicators in close partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which maintains gauges in streams and wells in many locations across Pennsylvania.