Pennsylvania Water Science Center

Drought Condition Monitoring

Drought Indicators

About the program


Dennis Risser


Drought Emergency

A drought emergency is a concentrated management phase designed to marshal all available resources to respond to actual emergency conditions, to avoid depletion of water sources, to assure at least minimum water supplies to protect public health and safety, to support essential and high priority water uses and to avoid unnecessary economic dislocations. During this phase, mandatory restrictions are imposed on nonessential water uses as provided for in 4 PA Code Chapter 119. The objective of water use restrictions and other conservation measures during this phase is to reduce consumptive water use in the affected area by at least 15 percent, and to reduce total use to the extent necessary to preserve public water system supplies, to avoid or mitigate local or area shortages, and to assure equitable sharing of limited supplies. During a drought emergency, public water suppliers are authorized to institute water rationing, if mandatory restrictions prove insufficient to protect supplies and if approved by the Commonwealth Drought Coordinator.