March 14th, 2003 - ABUNDANT WINTER PRECIPITATION ALLOWS RETURN TO NORMAL
ON CAPE COD AND ISLANDS
BOSTON, MA - The Massachusetts Drought Management Task Force has recommended that the drought advisory level be eliminated for Cape Cod and the Islands. The entire state is now considered to be in the normal range. As of December 2002, Cape Cod and the Islands remained at a drought Advisory as a result of long-term below normal groundwater levels. As of January 31, 2003, ground water levels on Cape Cod had returned to normal.
Precipitation amounts were above normal for September 2002 through February 2003 -- on average 122 percent of normal. Surface water reservoirs continue to recover from the preceding summer months. Abundant fall and winter precipitation has allowed surface water reservoirs and groundwater levels to recover from the deficit that began in October 2001. The Quabbin Reservoir, operated by the Metropolitan District Commission, is 79 percent full, remaining in the below normal system status. However, due to its large storage capacity, the system can withstand extended dry periods without affecting its ability to supply water.
The fall and winter are the primary seasons for ground water recharge and restoration of reservoir levels. Development of a snowpack and the subsequent spring snowmelt is also part of the typical water cycle that helps to restore water table levels on an annual basis. Much of the precipitation received this winter remains frozen in the snowpack, and will be available to recharge surface water and ground water when it melts in the spring.
The Drought Management Task Force recommends that normal water conservation efforts continue to sustain public water supplies and protect environmental resources. Water conservation tips for public water suppliers and citizens can be downloaded at: http://www.state.ma.us/dem/programs/rainfall/drought.htm. Homeowners and other facilities with private wells are advised to undertake conservation measures to assure the continuity of their own supplies.
The Massachusetts Drought Management Task Force is composed of liaisons from Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, Department of Environmental Management, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Fish & Wildlife, Department of Food & Agriculture, Department of Public Health, Metropolitan District Commission, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Weather Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Massachusetts Water Works Association, the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards and the Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committee. The Task Force assesses conditions across the state, coordinates dissemination of information to the public, and helps state, federal and local agencies coordinate any responses that may be needed.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state and local resources to protect the public during disasters and emergencies. MEMA helps develop plans for effective response to all hazards, trains emergency personnel, provides information to families and communities, and assists in recovery from disaster losses. You can learn about MEMA and this topic by visiting the MEMA homepage.