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ODNR SAYS THERE'S A BRIGHT SIDE TO THIS NASTY WINTER WEATHER -- RECENT SNOW AND RAINFALL HELP TO REPLENISH OHIO'S WATER SUPPLY

 COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Heavy snowfall and icy winter rains that have plagued much of Ohio in recent weeks have a positive side, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). "Today's six-foot drifts are next summer's water supply," according to David Cashell, hydrologist with ODNR's Division of Water.
 "Ohio is currently midway in its water-supply recharge season, which runs from October through April," Cashell said. "For all its aggravation, this nasty winter weather is helping to refuel our reservoirs and ground water systems. If we have near normal precipitation over the next several months, we can expect an excellent recharge to most of Ohio's water supplies."
 Lack of winter precipitation has been an important factor preceding severe droughts that affected major portions of the state in the summers of 1988 and 1991, according to Cashell.
 Statistics gathered by the ODNR Division of Water show that precipitation in most of Ohio has been well above normal during the first three months of the current water recharge season. The statewide average is 9.80 inches, or 130 percent above normal. Regional averages range from a low of 6.35 inches, 10 percent below normal in northwestern counties, to 10.57 inches, 144 percent above normal in the Central Hills region (Ashland, Coshocton, Knox, Richland and Wayne counties).
 In the winter that preceded the drought of 1988, water recharge rates from snow and winter rains were an average of 20% below normal statewide. In some regions of Ohio, that average fell as low as 30% below normal.
 "Replenishing our water supply in the water recharge season is essential," said Cashell. "Approximately 45 percent of Ohioans rely on ground water for their everyday drinking water. Nearly 90 percent of our public water systems rely on ground water as all or part of their water source," he said.
 Cashell is a hydrologist for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Water. His responsibilities include statewide monitoring of ground water levels and the compilation of precipitation, streamflow, reservoir storage and lake level data.
 -0- 1/13/94
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: A regional precipitation map for the first three months of the water recharge season (October-December 1993) is available from contact/
 /CONTACT: Dave Cashell, division of water, 614-265-6743, or Jim Lynch, media relations, 614-265-7062, both of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources/


CO: Ohio Department of Natural Resources ST: Ohio IN: SU:

BM-KL -- CL017 -- 1833 01/13/94 15:27 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 13, 1994
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