The City of Philadelphia Water Department's request for an exemption from drought-emergency restrictions has been denied, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary David E. Hess said.
"The drought emergency is a serious regional situation that is affecting both Pennsylvania and the states surrounding us," Hess said. "Philadelphia's upstream neighbors are making every effort to conserve water. In turn, Philadelphia needs to be conscious of its water-conservation efforts to help preserve water for themselves, as well as their neighbors."
The City of Philadelphia requested the exemption from the drought-emergency restrictions on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
On Sept. 5, Governor Schweiker amended his drought-emergency proclamation and added Philadelphia County as well as Bucks, Dauphin, Montgomery and Perry counties to the drought-emergency area.
"Gov. Schweiker is calling on all water users to conserve water during this extremely dry period," said Hess. "Philadelphia's neighbors in New Jersey, Delaware and to the south in Maryland have all declared drought emergencies and have mandatory restrictions. Philadelphia needs to do its part as well."
The 19 Pennsylvania counties in drought-emergency status are Adams, Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Fulton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill and York. Residents in these counties should follow mandatory water-use restrictions and reduce water use by 15 percent.
"Approval of Philadelphia's requested exemption would create enforcement problems of water-use restrictions in surrounding areas, as well as throughout the Delaware River basin," Hess said. "Other water users also would question the fairness of their required conservation efforts in order to protect Philadelphia's water supplies."
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection