FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 21, 2000
ODNR SAYS THERE'S A BRIGHT SIDE TO THIS NASTY WINTER WEATHER --
SNOWFALL HELPS TO REPLENISH OHIO'S WATER SUPPLY
COLUMBUS, OH -- Recent snowfalls that have irritated many Ohio drivers have a positive side, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). "Today's snowdrifts are next summer's water supply," says David Cashell, hydrologist with ODNR's Division of Water.
"Ohio is currently midway through its annual water-supply recharge season, which runs from October through April, and unfortunately some regions of the state are not off to an exceptionally good start," Cashell said.
"For all its aggravation, the recent nasty weather will help to replenish our reservoirs and groundwater systems. This year's water recharge season is critical, as Ohio still faces a moderately severe drought across much of the state. Recent rains have helped ease extreme drought conditions present throughout much of the state during the late summer and early autumn months," Cashell said. "However, we need to continue to have normal precipitation over the next several months to restore Ohio's water supplies, including both our reservoirs and groundwater systems, back to near-normal levels."
Statistics gathered by ODNR show that precipitation in most of Ohio has been below normal during the first three months of the current water recharge season. The statewide average through December is 7.34 inches, or 97 percent of normal. Regional averages range from a low of 5.63 inches or 80 percent of normal in northwestern counties, to 9.65 inches or 121 percent of normal in south-central counties.
According to Cashell, precipitation was slightly above average across most of southern Ohio in December, but slightly below normal elsewhere. "With the rains earlier this month and the recent snowfall, it appears precipitation will be above normal during January. If this trend continues, we may finally begin to cut into the rain deficit that has accumulated over the past nine or ten months," he said.
"Replenishing our water supply in the water recharge season is essential. Forty-five percent of all Ohioans rely on groundwater for their everyday drinking water, and nearly 90 percent of our public water systems rely on groundwater as all or part of their water source. We started this recharge season with extremely low inventory levels and we will continue to closely monitor these conditions," he said.
Cashell is a hydrologist for the ODNR Division of Water. His responsibilities include statewide monitoring of groundwater levels and the compilation of precipitation, streamflow, reservoir storage and lake level data.
EDITORS NOTE: CLICK FOR OHIO OCTOBER -DECEMBER PRECIPITATION MAP
For Further Information Contact:
Dave Cashell, ODNR Hydrologist
Andy Ware, ODNR Media Relations