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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 1-13-23

January 13, 2023: Through the month of December 2022, the majority of the state experienced drought improvements and as a result, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rebecca Tepper today announced the following drought declarations: the Islands Region will remain at a Level 2-Significant Drought, the Northeast and Cape Cod Regions have been upgraded to a Level 1-Mild Drought, and the Connecticut River Valley Region will join Western, Central, and Southeast Regions at Level 0-Normal Conditions. Rain and snow events during the previous month and a half have been well above normal and conditions are expected to continue to improve through January 2023. However, for the state to be completely out of the drought, which is a longer-term condition, Massachusetts will need to benefit from sustained rainfall for a few more months before the entire state is within Normal conditions.

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

Outlined in the Massachusetts Drought Management Plan, a Level 2-Significant Drought or higher warrants the convening of an inter-agency Mission Group to more closely coordinate on drought assessments, impacts and response within the government, in addition to detailed monitoring of drought conditions, and technical outreach and assistance to the affected municipalities. The declarations were the result of recommendations made by the state’s Drought Management Task Force, which is composed of state and federal officials, and other entities. The taskforce will continue to meet until water levels return to normal in the affected regions.

Precipitation was normal to above normal in December. Most of the Commonwealth received precipitation that was 1 to 3 inches above normal for the month of December. The exceptions were the Cape and Islands region which received near to slightly below (within 1 inch) normal rainfall. The Northeast continues to have a near 10-inch deficit in rainfall since the beginning of the drought.

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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