Following a month of unusually high temperatures in July and August paired with limited rainfall, Massachusetts state officials have declared a Level 2 drought for all regions, urging citizens to closely monitor and limit their water consumption.
The Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary, Kathleen Theoharides, declared a “Level 2 – Significant Drought” in all of the state’s regions this past week, according to a joint statement from Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Drought Management Task Force, and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
“The combination of three months of limited rainfall and well above normal temperatures through July and early August have led to very dry conditions in every region of Massachusetts,” Theoharides said in the statement. “All levels of government are coordinating to address these critical drought conditions.”
State officials said the conditions “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.”
“It is essential that residents and businesses across the Commonwealth take extra care to conserve water both indoors and outdoors” Theoharides said.
The state “strongly urges” residents and businesses to limit indoor and outdoor water consumption, according to a statement from Craig Gilvarg, EEA spokesman. Residents should only use hand-held hoses or watering cans, and should limit their use to either before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m.
The decision to declare a Significant Drought was made following a recent meeting with federal and state officials who compose the Drought Management Task Force, the statement said. The declaration will remain in effect until water levels return to normal.
The state recorded the second-hottest July on record last month with temperatures in August being 2 to 4 degrees above average so far, and above average temperatures are predicted over the coming weeks and months, the statement said.
 Berg, Matt. “Significant Drought Declared in all Regions in Mass., Residents Urged to Limit Water Use” Boston Globe, 14, August 2020, https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/08/14/metro/significant-drought-declared-all-regions-mass-residents-are-urged-limit-water-use/
Photo Credit: Laura Sarcone