Hot, dry conditions throughout the Susquehanna River Basin have led to a temporary ban on siphoning large amounts of water from its rivers and streams.
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission says more than 30 companies have been affected, most of them in the natural gas industry.
Stream and river depths are shrinking low enough to trigger what are known as pass-by restrictions, says Susan Obleski, commission spokeswoman.
“That means, literally, a certain amount of water must pass by the withdraw points,” she said Tuesday. “Because of the ongoing lack of normal precipitation amounts, streams and rivers are starting to drop, some have been dropping for some time. And so the commission’s pass-bys have automatically kicked in.”
Obleski says the restrictions kick in faster in northern Pennsylvania, where the Susquehanna’s tributaries are smaller.
But she adds rainfall deficits are actually the most severe in the southernmost counties of the river basin.
The Susquehanna River is the Chesapeake Bay’s largest tributary.