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Williamsport, Pa. – "Thousands have lived without love, not one without water," is the insightful statement that concludes the famous poem, First Things First, by W.H. Auden. Auden's eloquence rings especially true for five counties that are under a drought watch in north central Pennsylvania. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has placed Tioga county, Lycoming county, Clinton county, and Centre country on a "Drought Watch" after a lack of summer rain has led to an unprecedented water shortage in the areas. Additionally, Potter county has been placed on a "Drought Warning" due to a shortage of water in the area. 

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Drought Map of Pennsylvania by PA Department of Environmental Protection. 

Counties under a "Drought Watch" are asked to reduce their water consumption by 5-10% which amounts to 6 gallons a day per person. 

Residents in Potter county, since it is under a "Drought Warning," are asked to reduce their water consumption by 10-15% or about 6-9 gallons a day per person. 

The DEP has a few simple tips for reducing water consumption: 

There are many ways to reduce water use around the house and yard, including: 
 
•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. Use a bucket to catch the water and reuse it to water your plants.
 
• Water your garden in the evening or morning when it is cooler
 
•If you water your lawn, water it only when necessary, and avoid watering on windy and hot days. 
 
•Re-use old water from bird baths, vases, or pet bowls to water plants.
 
•When mowing your lawn, set the blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass shades the soil, improving moisture retention. It also grows thicker and develops a deeper root system, so it can better survive drought.
 
•Check for household leaks. For example, a leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water daily.
 
•Sweep your sidewalk, deck, or driveway, rather than hosing it off.
 
The DEP issues drought watch, warning, or emergency declaration based on four numeric indicators: stream flow and groundwater level data from gauges maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey; precipitation levels; soil moisture; and statistics from public water suppliers. 
 
“We’re asking residents in these counties to use water wisely and follow simple water conservation tips to ease the demand for water,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell in a press conference. 

This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.