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DRBC-Declared Drought Actions (1980 To Present)
October 1980 - April 1999

Dates of "Drought Actions" in the Delaware River Basin as determined by the DRBC Drought Management Plan: 

ENTER DW END DW ENTER DRT END DRT
10/17/80 1/15/81 1/16/81 4/27/82
11/13/82 3/27/83    
11/09/83 12/20/83    
1/23/85 5/12/85 5/13/85 12/18/85
1/16/89 5/12/89    
9/13/91 6/17/92    
9/21/93 12/6/93    
9/15/95 11/12/95    
10/27/97 1/13/98    
12/14/98 2/2/99    
Notes:
1. See Figure 1 below for a graphic of these Operation Curves.

2. The "ENTER DW" column represents the date the basin entered the first stage of Drought Warning (DW1).

3. The "ENTER DRT" column represents the date the basin entered Drought.

4. On 11/21/98, special action was taken before the combined storage in the three New York City (NYC) Delaware reservoirs (Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink) officially entered Drought Warning to (a) reduce flow targets at Montague, N.J. and Trenton, N.J. and (b) to reduce the NYC diversions. DW1 wasn't officially entered until 12/14/98 and DW2 was entered on 12/23/98. The DRBC declared a conditional Drought Emergency on 1/5/99, which would have kicked in had the storage in the NYC reservoirs dropped into the Drought zone and remained there for five consecutive days. Heavy and persistent rain storms soaked the basin a week later, so the emergency was not triggered.

Figure 1.

Figure 1: Drought operation curves with Drought Warning 1 and Drought Warning 2 stages.
When full, the three reservoirs hold 271 billion gallons of combined storage.

May 1999 - November 2002

In May 1999, the operation curves for Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink reservoirs were revised. Drought Watch replaced the Drought Warning Stage 1 (DW1) and the Drought Warning threshold (formerly DW2) was raised by 4 billion gallons based on the New York State Experimental Fisheries Program, D-77-20 (Rev. 4). See Figure 2 below for a graphic of the revised curves.

ENTER DRT WATCH END DRT WATCH ENTER DRT WARN END DRT WARN ENTER DRT END DRT ENTER DRT EMERG END DRT EMERG
10/29/01 11/3/01 11/4/01 11/30/01 12/1/01 12/17/01 12/18/01 11/25/02
Notes:

1. On 7/21/99, the flow target at Trenton was temporarily reduced in an effort to conserve dwindling water supplies. On 8/18/99, the DRBC ratified this decision and adopted emergency drought actions to address the severity of the water shortage even though the commission's drought operating plans had not yet been triggered by NYC reservoir storage levels. The emergency drought actions were lifted on 9/30/99.

2. View the "Chronology of Drought in the Delaware River Basin" (pdf 118 KB) for additional details about the 2001-2002 drought.

Figure 2.
Figure 2: Revised drought operation curves for Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink reservoirs.

September 2010 - October 2010

On September 24, 2010, DRBC issued a lower basin drought warning. Persistently dry weather conditions over the summer necessitated directed releases from the Beltzville and Blue Marsh reservoirs in order to meet the flow objective at Trenton, N.J. The amount of water in those reservoirs was thereby reduced to levels that automatically triggered the lower basin drought warning declaration.

ENTER LOWER BASIN DW END LOWER BASIN DW ENTER DRT END DRT
9/24/10 10/31/10