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Drought Status

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

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Current Drought Status

MA Drought Map 11-14-22

November 10, 2022: With near to above normal precipitation in October that directly benefited Massachusetts’ hydrological systems, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Beth Card today announced that drought conditions have improved in nearly all regions of the state, and made the following drought declarations: the Central and Southeast Regions have upgraded and will join the Western Region at Level 0-Normal Conditions; the Northeast and Cape Cod Regions have been upgraded and will join the Connecticut River Valley Region at Level 1-Mild Drought; and, the Islands Region will remain at Level 2-Significant Drought. It is important to note that while the Northeast Region has been declared a Level 1-Mild Drought at a regional scale, the northern and coastal parts of the region within namely Essex County, which includes the Merrimack River, the Parker River, Ipswich River and North Coastal basins, continues to be more severely impacted by long term drought conditions. This declaration will remain in effect till the next declaration in December. 

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 of 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.

October rains have resulted in continued recovery to streamflow in many locations and to some groundwater wells. However, drought impacts continue to be seen in a few regions, with particular severity in some sub-regions (Essex County, elbow of the Cape, northern CT River Valley) of the state with remaining dry streams and numerous slow-recharging or deeper wells across the state.

Although outdoor watering has diminished significantly with the end of the growing season, there are several communities with restrictions still in place. It continues to be important to save water, which can also be achieved by limiting non-essential outdoor water use and by ramping up indoor use considerations. The top three indoor ways 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. Drought-like conditions can also be detrimental to delicate habitats and ecosystems, and can directly impact outdoor recreational opportunities. EEA urges residents and businesses to continue to be extremely mindful of their overall water use, select only native and drought resistant plants for any new plantings.

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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