By: G. J. Kauffman
The drought of 1995 was a significant event which severely reduced the availability of public water supplies in northern New Castle County (Delaware). The year-long drought was characterized by an extended period of deficit precipitation which resulted in near-record low stream flows in the Christiana watershed, declining groundwater levels, and a depleted Hoopes Reservoir. The dry conditions reduced the availability of stream flows for water supply purposes, nearly resulting in water shortages just after Labor Day in 1995. Fortunately, record rainfall during October averted the water emergency, and water conditions returned to normal.
The drought created hardships for the citizens and businesses of New Castle County, yet it highlighted opportunities for improvement of the regional water supply system. The following summary discusses the chronology of the drought and various drought management activities by state, county, local, and private water agencies. More importantly, this chapter discusses the lessons and actions which are needed to improve watershed management activities for future droughts.