- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
- Drought Management Task Force
Media Contact for Cape Cod Region Remains in Mild Drought
Craig Gilvarg, Director of Communications
BOSTON — With the month of August delivering above average precipitation numbers throughout much of Massachusetts, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides has declared all regions in the state at Level 0-Normal Conditions with the exception of the Cape Cod region, which remains at a Level 1-Mild Drought. Today’s drought declaration, which reflect conditions through the end of August 2021, remains unchanged from the July 2021 designations. As outlined in the Massachusetts Drought Management Plan, a Level 1-Mild Drought warrants detailed monitoring of drought conditions, close coordination among state and federal agencies, and technical outreach and assistance to the affected municipalities. Officials will continue monitoring the region closely to better understand if there are any improvements from recent precipitation events.
“During the last several months, we have seen a considerable amount of rainfall across the Commonwealth, enabling most of our state’s hydrological systems to fully bounce back,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “While mostly good news, the Cape Cod Region continues to experience drought conditions, which requires close regional monitoring and continued water conservation practices to provide relief to the local water systems.”
Both the upper and lower parts of the Cape Cod Region have received sufficient rainfall from recent precipitation events; however, conditions within the region’s mid-Cape section continue to experience dry conditions in the month of August. Those residing within the region are asked to limit outdoor water use and practice water conservation methods in order to reduce strain on water resources.
Furthermore, the drought indices used to track water conditions, such as streamflow and groundwater, are high and near saturation in many regions. Additionally, the threat of fire danger is low due to recent rain events and high ambient humidity levels. Even though the majority of the state has returned to Normal Conditions, the state asks individuals to reduce water consumption when possible. Residents and businesses are asked to:
Recommendations for regions in a Level 1-Mild Drought include:
Residents and Businesses:
- Limit outdoor watering to 1 day a week (only from 5:00PM – 9:00AM), or less frequently if required by your water supplier;
- Toilets, faucets and showers are more than 60% of indoor use. Make sure yours are WaterSense efficient; and,
- Switch to more drought-tolerant plants.
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;
- Check emergency inter-connections for water supply; and,
- Develop a local drought management plan.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) also provides technical assistance to communities on managing systems, which includes assistance on the use of emergency connections and water supplies.
“Heavy rain has eased conditions across most of the state, but rain levels have varied on Cape Cod, leaving mild drought conditions in place there,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “Cape residents should closely monitor the requirements of their local water system and follow their instructions on continued outdoor water use.”
Once a month, upon a review of available data, the state’s Drought Management Task Force, which is composed of state and federal officials, and other entities, provides Secretary Theoharides with drought status recommendations for her review. The task force will continue to meet while any region of the state continues to be declared a Level 1-Mild Drought or higher, and provide these key recommendations.
The Drought Management Task Force will meet again on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at 11:00AM. Ongoing efforts include state agencies closely monitor and assess conditions across the Commonwealth, coordinate any needed dissemination of information to the public, and help state, federal and local agencies prepare additional responses that may be needed in the future. For further information on water conservation and what residents and communities can do, visit the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ drought page and water conservation pages.
- Continue to exercise outdoor water conservation;
- Plant non-lawn/non-grass landscapes;
- Increase plantings of drought tolerant species and to shift to non-lawn/non-grass landscapes; and,
- Install rain collection systems to help with watering of outdoor plants and vegetable gardens.
Information regarding water conservation practices can be found on EEA’s webpages on indoor and outdoor water use. Importantly, residents are also reminded to follow any watering requirements outlined by their community’s Public Water Supplier. While water supplies are currently operating within suitable conditions, everyone is encouraged to also follow any supplementary watering requirements outlined by their community’s Public Water Supplier. The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) water supply system is not currently experiencing drought conditions, as defined within its individual plan.