BOSTON (WWLP) – Several regions in Massachusetts are experiencing drought conditions, the state announced Friday.
According to the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, low precipitation and recent above normal temperatures have led to dry conditions across the Commonwealth along with steep declines in precipitation and streamflow in several regions.
As a result, the state has 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.
“The Baker-Polito Administration continues to closely monitor the very dry conditions, and this drought declaration is an important tool which will help officials on all levels of government to work together to address the drought,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “While the dry conditions continue and as we enter the summer months, we ask residents and businesses to aggressively conserve water and take increased care with any outdoor burning.”
According to the EEA, at Level 2 – Significant Drought, 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.
“With the drying conditions across the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is asking the public to actively conserve water by reducing indoor and outdoor water usage,” said MEMA Director Samantha Phillips. “Because of the increased threat of brush and wildland fires due to the dry conditions, the public is urged to exercise caution when using charcoal grills, matches, and other open flames during outdoor activities and to call 911 immediately if there is a fire to prevent the fire from spreading.”
The declaration will remain in effect until water levels return to normal in the affected regions, the EEA said, adding that there has been a decline in rainfall across the state since May, as well as high temperatures and below normal rainfall from the winter.
This has caused a steady increase in wildfires across the state, with over 110 wildfires in the last 30 days across the Commonwealth, most of which firefighters spent hours and days controlling and extinguishing.
For information on water conservation and what residents and communities can do, visit the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ drought page.