Southeastern Massachusetts Drought Now ‘Critical’
Just before Tuesday's rainstorm, on Aug. 9 the state upgraded the Southeastern Massachusetts region to a Level 3 "Critical" drought status, while the U.S. Drought Monitor upgraded Bristol County and the western parts of Plymouth County to an "extreme" drought.
According to the Drought Monitor website, "of particular note is the introduction of extreme drought (D3) in eastern Massachusetts outside Cape Cod, and much of southern and eastern Rhode Island."
"These areas have received near or less than half of normal rainfall over the last 3 months, and only about 50 to 65 percent of normal in the last half-year," the summary went on to note.
According to the website, the D3 "Extreme" designation means residents could see effects such as widespread crop loss; wells running dry, with people digging more and deeper wells; increased business for water haulters; reduced water flow and warmer temperatures in rivers and streams; and possible disease outbreaks in wildlife.
Meanwhile, state's "critical" designation means that residents and businesses are urged to stop all non-essential outdoor watering and minimize their overall water use indoors.
Communities in the commonwealth are also required to take immediate and longer-term measures to conserve water.
These include enforcing bans on water use; discouraging or prohibiting residents from filling swimming pools, washing surfaces and vehicles, and installing new landscaping, sod or grass; and establishing water use reduction targets.
Massachusetts towns and cities are also asked to educate residents, establish a year-round water conservation program, implement drought surcharge or seasonal water rates, and develop a local drought management plan.
Local waterways are showing the effects of the drought, with ponds and lakes starting to dry up earlier this week.
It is unclear how much of an effect Tuesday's rainstorm and rain showers expected Thursday will affect the drought conditions in the area.