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Area tries to cope with drought

July 30, 1999|By ERIN HEATH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - In Waynesboro, as in much of Franklin and Fulton counties, shades of brown have started to overshadow the shades of green in the town's fields and backyards.

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It is easy to notice the dead grass and the wilting flowers that have fallen victim to the region's ongoing dry weather conditions.

What you won't see driving through Waynesboro is people mowing their lawns because many have no live grass left to cut.

"Right now our plants are starting to suffer. The grass is dried up. I want to see some rain," said Charles Statler of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.

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Since Gov. Tom Ridge declared a drought emergency for 55 Pennsylvania counties, including Franklin and Fulton, Statler and others in those areas have been banned from using water for such nonessential things as watering lawns and filling swimming pools.

Barb McCann, who lives with her husband and two daughters on Wedgewood Drive, said her family tries to take short showers to conserve water. McCann said she feels lucky the family hasn't had many problems with the dry weather.

"We have friends who are on a well who pray every time they take a shower," she said.

Pam Campbell and her husband, Herb, get their water from a well, and although they haven't had any problems yet, the Cascade couple admitted they were a little nervous about the water supply.

Campbell said she has had to stop watering her vegetable garden. Most years she reaps two bushels of green beans from the garden, she said. This year she filled one cup.

"We're not going to get anything out of the garden," she said sadly.

Since Sept. 1, Waynesboro has had a precipitation deficit of more than 13 inches, according to Waynesboro weather observer Todd Toth. On a normal July, the town should see about 3.5 inches of rain, but Toth said only 1.3 inches have fallen so far this month. For the year, precipitation has totaled 20.6 inches. In a normal year, the figure would be 24 inches by now.

Nancy Gardner of North Woodlea Drive said she has come up with a solution to save her plants.

"We're saving our shower water to do our little flowers, tomatoes and peppers," she said.

Each time Gardner and her husband take showers, they put two buckets on the shower floor to collect water they can use in their garden, she said.

Like Gardner, Guilford Township resident Marge Pepper said the drought has caused her family to change their habits to conserve water. If there is anything positive about going through a drought, it is that it has been a learning experience, she said.

"It really made us stop and think how precious our water is."

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