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

In Easthampton, the city has banned all non-essential water use, such as washing your car or using lawn sprinklers. Greenfield on Wednesday also banned all non-essential outdoor watering and water use. Similar restrictions are in place in multiple local communities.

Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties make up the Connecticut River Valley region, which now joins the Central, Northeast, and Southeast regions of the state as being under “critical” drought levels. Cape Cod remains at a level two, or “significant” drought, while Berkshire County, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard are at a level one, or “mild” drought.

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

This is just the second time since 2001 that the Connecticut River Valley has been in a level three drought. The last time we were this dry, conditions lasted from September 2016 through January 2017.

A new report from the National Drought Monitor, which is a different measure of drought conditions than the one used by the state, will be released later in the day on Thursday.