CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – State environmental officials have upgrade the Connecticut River Valley region to a level three, or “critical” drought, and more local communities are issuing water restrictions as a result.

Adam Smedberg of Chicopee told 22News, “The tipping point is what we are hitting if we have not already hit it. People need to understand just the severity of what we are going to be looking at.”

Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties make up the Connecticut River Valley region. They join the Central, Northeast, and Southeast regions of the state under “critical” drought levels. Local people are concerned about how the drought is leading towns to place restrictions on water.

“We’re seeing a lot of areas, the water bans, where towns are trying to be very conservative about how people use their water when they use their water and it’s understandable. it’s one of those things that if we come together and work together we can help each other,” said Smedberg.

Some of the towns that currently have these water restrictions in place include; West Springfield, Southwick, Easthampton and Ware. This is the second time since 2001 that the Connecticut River Valley has been in a level three drought.

Massachusetts uses a tiered system to define drought severity starting at level one and reaching level 4, which indicates an emergency drought. Most of the state currently sits at level 3 as conditions continue to worsen.

“We need to be aware so that this drought doesn’t continue to impact us in a bigger way at some point in the future,” said Lazaro Abuel of Chicopee.

Communities in a critical drought region are encouraged to adopt the state’s non-essential water use restrictions.

Current Water Use Restrictions:

Credit: MassDEP

The following cities and towns in western Massachusetts are under a mandatory water use restriction:

  • West Springfield
  • Southwick
  • Easthampton
  • Northampton
  • Hadley
  • Ware
  • Shelburne
  • Greenfield
  • Orange
  • Williamstown
  • Adams
  • Dalton
  • Hinsdale

The following cities and towns are under a voluntary water use restriction:

  • Montague