Massachusetts Declares Drought Advisory in Four Regions of State

Despite some recent rainfall, the state declared a drought advisory on Oct. 11 in four regions of the state following an exceptionally dry August and September, which has caused rivers, streams, lakes and ponds to be well below their normal levels for this time of the year.

The drought advisory and the stream flows that in some areas of the state are less than 5 percent of their normal flows emphasize the need for both consumers and water suppliers to continue to implement water conservation and demand management measures until the situation abates and rainfall returns to normal levels. Citizens are asked to abide by water restrictions imposed by their public water supplier.

The delayed drought advisory also may signal the success of water conservation measures, particularly out-door water use restrictions, imposed in many communities during the summer months, state officials said.

To assist communities in their efforts to conserve water, state environmental officials announced on Oct. 12 that 21 projects totaling $662,397 have been awarded grant funding to reduce drinking water losses as part of the 2008 Water Conservation Competitive Grant Program.

"It is critical for the health of our natural resources and our economy to better manage our public water supplies, especially within our most stressed watersheds, and to reduce the attendant energy used to pump and treat that water," said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Laurie Burt. "These grants will help drinking water systems and municipalities to implement projects that will directly benefit watersheds by reducing the demand on our aquatic resources and the resulting demand on our local budgets."

Due to the lack of rainfall and low water levels, 78 municipalities informed DEP this year that they instituted outdoor water use restrictions to conserve water. Last year, DEP received information on water bans in just 25 communities.

DEP indicated that approximately two-thirds of the state's public water suppliers are meeting the appropriate performance standards for their watershed.

For more information, contact DEP at

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