Press Release

Press Release Drought Watch, Drought Advisory Issued for Portions of Massachusetts

Increased monitoring of water resources to continue, water conservation is advised
For immediate release:
7/08/2016
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • Water Resources Commission
  • Drought Management Task Force

Media Contact for Drought Watch, Drought Advisory Issued for Portions of Massachusetts

Katie Gronendyke,

Drought Status Map Statewide

Boston — Following four continuous months of unusually dry weather, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton today declared a Drought Watch for Central and Northeast Massachusetts and a Drought Advisory for Southeast Massachusetts and the Connecticut River Valley. The declaration was the result of a recommendation issued from a recent meeting of the Drought Management Task Force, comprised of state, federal and local officials, and will remain in effect until water levels return to normal in the affected regions.

“Drought conditions can contribute to lasting agricultural, environmental, and economic impacts, and also raise serious public safety concerns,” said EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton. “This drought declaration is an important tool which will help officials on all levels of government to work together to ensure we take action where necessary, and we advise all residents to conserve water and take increased care with any outdoor burning such as campfires and disposal of smoking materials.”

“If these very dry conditions continue through the summer months, the threat of wildfires will become even greater,” said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Director Kurt Schwartz. “To that end, we remind our residents and visitors to continue to not only conserve water, but also utilize extreme caution when dealing with outdoor burning.”

A Drought Advisory, the second of five levels of drought conditions outlined in the Massachusetts Drought Management Plan, indicates a level of dry conditions that warrants closer tracking by government agencies.  The decline of the state’s rainfall in the Connecticut River Valley, Central, and Northeast Regions since March led to the drought condition, with cumulative precipitation deficits of four to five inches below normal for the months of April, May and June.  For the months of May and June, precipitation was less than 61 percent of normal in the regions under Drought Watch and Advisory. Data from the state’s groundwater, streamflow and reservoir monitoring network show very low levels for the beginning of July. Seventeen streams across the four regions impacted by drought have registered record-low flows for early July.

A Drought Watch, a higher degree of drought, represents extremely low groundwater and streamflow levels resulting from a precipitation deficit of nearly ten inches over the past 12 months, including a lack of snowfall in the winter months.  The declaration of a Drought Watch warrants detailed monitoring of drought conditions, close coordination among state and federal agencies, and technical outreach and assistance for the affected municipalities.

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Media Contact for Drought Watch, Drought Advisory Issued for Portions of Massachusetts

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs seeks to protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. Through the stewardship of open space, protection of environmental resources, and enhancement of clean energy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs works tirelessly to make Massachusetts a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.

Water Resources Commission 

The Water Resources Commission was established in 1956 by the Massachusetts Legislature and is responsible for developing, coordinating, and overseeing the Commonwealth’s water policy and planning activities to ensure that Massachusetts will have plentiful water to support health, safety, economic development, and ecological vitality for generations to come.
The twelve-seat Commission includes appointees from seven state agencies or offices and five public members.

Drought Management Task Force 

The Drought Management Task Force (DMTF) consists of officials from state and federal agencies and professional organizations with responsibility for areas likely to be affected by drought conditions. It also includes representatives of agencies that provide data used to assess the severity of drought conditions or that have the ability to respond to drought conditions, and public health and safety professionals.

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