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Drought Management in Massachusetts

Welcome to the Massachusetts Drought page where you can find information about the current drought status, the drought management task force and its meetings, drought index data and monthly hydrological conditions reports. You can also view and easily download drought-related outreach material.

Table of Contents

Current Status

MA Drought Map 11-14-22

November 10, 2022: Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Bethany Card declared Normal conditions in the Western, Central and Southeast Regions, a Level 2 - Significant Drought in the Islands regions, and a Level 1 – Mild Drought in the Connecticut River Valley, Northeast, and Cape Cod regions. 

With near normal to above normal rains across the state over the past couple of months, conditions have improved nearly everywhere. Read more on our drought status page. This declaration will remain in effect till the next declaration in December.

 

What you need to know

Drought Management Task Force

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The DMTF serves citizens, businesses, and farms throughout Massachusetts by collecting information and making recommendations for drought management to the Secretary of EEA, the Secretary of Public Safety and Security, and the Governor...Learn More

Drought Monitoring

Drought Monitoring

Find information on current drought conditions and learn about how your water supply may be affected..Learn More 

Drought Tips, Tools & Resources

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Learn how you can help yourself and your community by saving water..Learn More

What Can You Do?

The actions below apply to all outdoor water users and represent one of the most effective ways to minimize the impacts of drought on water supply and the environment.

Nonessential Outdoor Water-Use Restrictions at Various Drought Levels

*Essential uses are defined by MassDEP as uses required: a) for health or safety reasons; b) by regulation; c) for the production of food and fiber; d) for the maintenance of livestock; or e) to meet the core functions of a business.  Nonessential uses are those other than essential uses.

 

Steps You Can Take to Conserve Water at Each Drought Level:

The Conserve MA Water site is loaded with water conservation tools, tips, and information for residents, businesses, local communities, farmers, and more.

Level 1 – Mild Drought

Residents and Businesses:

  • Toilets, faucets and showers are more than 60% of indoor use.  Make sure yours are WaterSense efficient.
  • Limit outdoor watering to one day a week (only from 5:00 pm – 9:00 am), or less frequently if required by your water supplier

Immediate Steps for Communities:

  • Adopt and implement the state’s nonessential outdoor water use restrictions for drought.
  • Limit or prohibit installation of new sod, seeding, and/or landscaping; watering during or within 48 hours after measurable rainfall; washing of hard surfaces (sidewalks, patios, driveways, siding); personal vehicle or boat washing; filling of swimming pools, hot tubs, and backyard informal rinks.
  • Establish water-use reduction targets for all water users and identify top water users and conduct targeted outreach to help curb their use.
     

Short- and Medium-Term Steps for Communities:

  • Establish a year-round water conservation program that includes public education and communication.
  • Provide timely information to local residents and businesses.
  • Implement or establish drought surcharge or seasonal water rates.
  • Check emergency inter-connections for water supply.
  • Develop a local drought management plan.

 

Level 2 – Significant Drought

Residents and Businesses:

  • Minimize overall water use;
  • Limit outdoor watering to hand-held hoses or watering cans, to be used only after 5 p.m. or before 9 a.m.
  • Follow local water use restrictions, if more stringent.

Immediate Steps for Communities:

  • Adopt and implement the state’s nonessential outdoor water use restrictions for drought; Level 2 restriction calls for limiting outdoor watering to hand-held hoses or watering cans, to be used only after 5 p.m. or before 9 a.m. If local restrictions are more stringent, continue to keep them in place during the course of the drought.
  • Limit or prohibit installation of new sod, seeding, and/or landscaping; watering during or within 48 hours after measurable rainfall; washing of hard surfaces (sidewalks, patios, driveways, siding); personal vehicle or boat washing; filling of swimming pools, hot tubs, and backyard informal rinks.
  • Establish water-use reduction targets for all water users and identify top water users and conduct targeted outreach to help curb their use.

Short- and Medium-Term Steps for Communities:

  • Establish a year-round water conservation program that includes public education and communication.
  • Provide timely information to local residents and businesses.
  • Implement or establish drought surcharge or seasonal water rates.
  • Check emergency inter-connections for water supply; and
  • Develop or refine your local drought management plan using guidance outlined in the state Drought Management Plan.

 

Level 3 – Critical Drought

Residents and Businesses:

  • Minimize overall water use.
  • Stop all non-essential outdoor watering.

Immediate Steps for Communities:

  • Adopt and implement the state’s nonessential outdoor water use restrictions for drought; Level 3 restriction calls for a ban on all nonessential outdoor water use.
  • Provide timely information on the drought and on water conservation tips to local residents and businesses.
  • Enforce water use restrictions with increasingly stringent penalties.
  • Strongly discourage or prohibit installation of new sod, seeding, and/or landscaping; washing of hard surfaces (sidewalks, patios, driveways, siding); personal vehicle or boat washing; filling of swimming pools, hot tubs, and backyard informal rinks.
  • Establish or enhance water-use reduction targets for all water users and identify top water users and conduct targeted outreach to help curb their use

Short- and Medium-Term Steps for Communities:

  • Establish a year-round water conservation program that includes public education and communication.
  • Implement or establish drought surcharge or seasonal water rates.
  • Prepare to activate emergency inter-connections for water supply.
  • Develop or refine your local drought management plan using guidance outlined in the state Drought Management Plan.

Additional Resources for What Can You Do?

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