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Environment & Energy

Recent Rains Lift Water Withdrawal Suspensions, More Could Come

With last week's rains in northeastern Pennsylvania, the record low water levels in the Susquehanna River Basin have recovered and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) has lifted its order to 10 natural gas drilling companies to halt withdrawals.

Susan Obleski, director of communications for the SRBC, said the water levels are already starting to drop again and the commission might have to re-implement the orders in the near future if more does not come this week. She said this could be a summer-long off-and-on order if the normal spring rains do not come to the region.

Little snowfall this winter and less than expected rain this spring dropped the main branch of the Susquehanna River to some of the lowest levels it has had since record-keeping started at the beginning of the last century.

Not only could the lower water levels impact industry, it could eventually impact all residents in the area. Obleski said it's not too early for the general public to consider water conservation practices, because predicting a consistent rainfall period is not guaranteed and drought levels could continue into the summer.