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Drought Status

Find out the current drought status in Massachusetts, learn about past droughts and find past drought declaration maps.

Table of Contents

Current Drought Status

MA Drought Map 2-13-23

February 13, 2023: The month of January brought above-normal rainfall across all regions of the Commonwealth, helping with the recovery of groundwater, streamflow, lakes, and impoundments. All seven regions are now at Level 0-Normal Conditions, including the Islands Region, which was previously declared at a Level 2- Significant Drought, and the Northeast and Cape Cod Regions, which were at a Level-1 Mild Drought last month.

To learn which drought region your city or town falls into, go to https://www.mass.gov/service-details/drought-regions.

Normal Conditions, as outlined in the Massachusetts Drought Management Plan, recommends water suppliers restore operations, that overall water efficiency practices and emergency planning efforts continue at the local level, and that state and local agencies work to review, assess, and improve responses and actions implemented during the drought.

January featured above average precipitation, mostly in the form of rain resulting in significant improvement to hydrological conditions. Precipitation totals across the Commonwealth ranged from 3 to 5 inches in the western third of the state to as much as 6 to 12 inches in the east, with the highest totals in southeast Massachusetts including Cape Cod.  The above average precipitation also helped both streamflow and groundwater recover across the state. Streamflow was above normal in all regions except for Cape Cod, which was in the normal range. Groundwater was mostly above to well above normal. Some locations on the Cape, the Islands and CT River Valley were below normal at the end of January but have since recovered to the normal range.

Even in winter months it continues to be important to save water, which can be achieved by ramping up indoor use considerations. The top three ways to conserve water indoors are to fix leaks, consider water use habits, and change out older fixtures and appliances to save water, energy and money. More details and additional ideas are provided at https://www.mass.gov/guides/indoor-water-conservation. EEA urges residents and businesses to continue to be extremely mindful of their overall water use.

Water Conservation Tips

  • Address leaks as soon as possible;
  • Conduct water audits on larger buildings and businesses to identify leaks and potential water conservation opportunities;
  • Minimize the size of where lawns are watered; and,
  • Harvest rainwater for outdoor watering.

Water conservation measures will aid in the reduction of water use and safeguard water for essential needs, such as drinking water, fire protection services, habitat recovery and environmental needs, and sustained water supplies. For more information, please visit EEA’s webpages on indoor water use and outdoor water use.

While water supplies are currently doing fine, many communities have instituted watering restrictions; individuals are encouraged to also follow watering requirements outlined by their communities’ Public Water Supplier. Additionally, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) water supply system is not currently experiencing drought conditions, as defined within its individual plan.

Water Impact Reporter

Voluntarily provide information about drought related impacts that affect you or that you see occurring in Massachusetts. Information submitted to this survey will be used by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to understand impacts reported across the state. By submitting information, you agree that it may be used in drought monitoring and research. Thank you for your time in reporting and please consider submitting new information as conditions change.

Past Droughts and Declaration

Drought History

The information in this Drought Status History dates to 2001, when the Massachusetts Drought Management Plan was developed in response to a period of deficient precipitation that began in 1999. The most severe drought of modern times was the drought of the 1960s, equivalent to a drought emergency. A less severe drought occurred in the early 1980s. 

The Commonwealth experienced another impactful drought in 2016-2017 with drought levels reaching Level 4 Drought (Warning) out of five levels of drought; the drought impacted the agricultural sector, some water supplies, the natural environment and many habitats and species. To read more about the drought, how it fared and the state responses and actions click here.

Past Drought Status Maps

Additional Resources

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