The Gettysburg Municipal Authority (GMA) has asked residents to cut back on water use, while the Littlestown Borough Authority has required it.
The actions are the result of lower stream flows in creeks and lower water tables.
Littlestown said two critical water sources for the borough had been impacted and are not able to be utilized.
“It hasn’t really rained for about a year and a half, said GMA Director Mark Guise. “Groundwater levels are low. We had no snow last year at all and there was no snowpack for recharging.”
“We’re asking people to reduce non-essential needs,” said Guise. “You can help us sustain a little longer. If things continue, we’ll have to change to a mandatory system.”
Littlestown has prohibited nonessential activities that use lots of water including watering lawns or gardens and washing sidewalks, driveways, sidewalks, and vehicles.
Littlestown Chief of Police/Borough Manager Charles G. Kellar said anyone caught violating the mandatory water ban would be subject to fines and immediate termination of water services.
Other suggestions for saving water include checking and repairing household leaks, running dishwashers and washing machines less often and only when full, not letting the faucet run while brushing your teeth or shaving, and taking shorter showers.
When mowing your lawn, try to set your blades higher. Longer grass shades the soil, improving moisture retention.
Guise said flows in Marsh Creek, from which GMA currently draws about 70 percent of its water, are reducing.
Guise said that, unlike other areas, watersheds in Adams County are not filled from other places. “In the Susquehanna River, if it rains in the north, water comes downriver,” he said. “But Marsh Creek starts in Orrtanna.”
Guise said another problem is that recent rainfalls had been more “flashy.” “We’re getting either two inches or nothing. The heavy rains run off into the bay and don’t help recharge ground wells. We’re not getting those nice day-long rains anymore,” he said.
“This is nothing new to the area,” said Guise. “We need to find the proper answer.”