BOSTON (WWLP) – The state’s Drought Management Task Force has issued a Level 1-Mild Drought warning for the Southeast and Islands Regions of the state.

According to a news release sent to 22News from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA), the state has experienced lower than average rainfall this spring, but these two regions have seen the most significant impact. All other regions of the state – Connecticut River Valley, Central, Northeast, Western, Cape Cod regions – remain in Level 0-Normal conditions. 

Drought conditions can reduce drinking water and fire protection supplies, as well as agricultural and natural environment needs. Due to the lack of rain and recent high winds, there has been an increase in brushfires statewide.

“Each of us can play a role in mitigating drought impacts by reducing water usage and by being cautious of the increased risk of brush and wildland fires due to the dry conditions,” said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Acting Director Dawn Brantley. “MEMA reminds the public to exercise caution with 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.”

“With forecasts showing below normal rainfalls with elevated temperatures, it’s important that we all administer water conservation practices early in the year to minimize stress on our water supply systems and natural habitats,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “As state officials continue to monitor and analyze ongoing conditions, we ask everyone, particularly those in the Southeast and Islands Regions, to be mindful of water usage as we advance further into the growing and outdoor recreational seasons.”

The state suggests these drought guidelines for both residents and businesses using municipal water or private wells:

For Region in Level 1 – Mild Drought

Residents and Businesses:

  • Minimize overall water use;
  • Limit outdoor watering to 1-day a week from 5:00PM to 9:00AM, or less frequently if required by your water supplier;
  • Plant only local and drought resistant species;
  • Fix indoor leaks, such as from toilets, faucets, and showers, which result in more than 60% of indoor use;
  • For larger buildings and businesses, conduct water audits to identify areas of leaks and potential water conservation opportunities;
  • Minimize lawn sizes; and,
  • Harvest rainwater for outdoor watering.

Communities:

  • Establish a year-round water conservation program that includes public education and communication;
  • Provide timely drought and water conservation information to local residents and businesses;
  • Check emergency inter-connections for water supply; and
  • Develop a local drought management plan (click here for more information).

State agencies will continue to monitor water conditions across the state. The Drought Management Task Force will meet on Wednesday, June 8 to assess current conditions and will provide updates to the public.