Low precipitation since May and above normal temperatures this summer overall have led to dry conditions across the Commonwealth and steep declines in precipitation and streamflow in several regions. As a result, in June Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides declared a Level 2 – Significant Drought in the Connecticut River Valley, Western, Central, and Northeast regions, and a Level 0 – Normal Conditions for the Southeast, Cape, and Islands regions. At Level 2 – Significant Drought, as outlined in the Massachusetts Drought Management Plan, conditions are becoming significantly dry and warrant detailed monitoring of drought conditions, close coordination among state and federal agencies, emphasis on water conservation, more stringent watering restrictions, and technical outreach and assistance for the affected municipalities.
Limiting nonessential outdoor watering is one of the most effective ways to minimize the impacts of drought on water supply and the environment, and ensure there is enough water for fire protection. We encourage everyone to practice water conservation by limiting outdoor watering to the greatest extent possible (particularly by limiting to handheld watering cans only and watering before 9 am and after 5 pm). For water conservation tips and resources, check out the Greenscapes website.
Mass Rivers has a seat on the state’s Drought Management Task Force, and we need your help with observing drought conditions in Massachusetts right now. We invite you to share photos, videos, verbal and written observations of streams and rivers that are currently experiencing low flow. Please share these items on social media with the #MADroughtLooksLike and with Julia Blatt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your observations will help us to inform the state about what conditions really look like across the Commonwealth and may help influence future drought declarations.