Year 2001 begins with ground-water levels in some watershed areas fourteen feet lower than at the beginning of 1999 before the drought !

This observation well is located in Cato Office Park west of State College in an  area of the watershed that is far from any stream, and this watershed area experiences significant fluctuations of the water-table surface.  The steady downward trend of the blue line showing the 2000 water-table level in this well is due to precipitation being below normal since June 2000.  In a ranking of the last 105 years of record at the Penn State weather station, with the wettest year ranked 1 and the driest year ranked 105, year 2000 ended with a rank of 93 !!  In an average year the Spring Creek Watershed receives 38.6 inches of rainfall and liquid equivalent of (melted) snow and sleet.  For the year 2000, we received only 31.56 inches, which is 7 inches or 18% below normal.  The red line shows a steady ground-water level decline to the end of January, 2001, when rainfall on the existing snow pack caused runoff and enough ground-water recharge occurred to raise the water-table one foot.

The four-year downward trend of the water-table level in this observation well is shown on the water-level trends page.

    The U.S. Geological Survey Web site answers the questions "What is ground water?", and "Why is there ground water?".  Their ground-water flow diagrams illustrate ground-water level declines and how contamination affects ground water. 

    DEP is keeping a watch on below normal precipitation.  Click here to link to the DEP Update on their winter drought watch.

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