The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced after a Commonwealth Drought Task Force meeting that drought watches have been lifted for five counties and hydrologic conditions are normal statewide.

Drought watches have been lifted for Carbon, Luzerne, Northampton, Potter, and Schuylkill counties.

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

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.

DEP shares this 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.

For more information, including a map of drought status declarations updated daily, see the DEP drought web page at