With the Commonwealth continuing to experience above average rainfall totals during the month of September, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides has declared all regions in the state at Level 0-Normal Conditions, including the Cape Cod region, which was previously declared at a Level 1-Mild Drought. Due to the declaration, the Commonwealth’s Drought Management Task Force has been deactivated until the state experiences another drought.
“It is significant news that the state of Massachusetts is now under normal conditions, and we thank those who implemented water conservation practices to enable resources to fully rebound,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Importantly, due to the ongoing impacts of climate change causing more frequent extreme weather events, we must remain diligent in our efforts to protect our state’s vital water systems in order to prepare for future dry conditions.”
Prior to today’s declaration, the Cape Cod region was at a Level 1-Mild Drought; however, since August, the region’s Groundwater and Lakes/Impoundments have fully recovered on a region-wide scale. Additionally, while water systems within the elbow of the Cape Cod Region have not fully rebounded, it is showing an upward trend.
“While we are fortunate that drought conditions have ended for now, we should all continue to make indoor and outdoor water conservation part of our regular activities, not just during a drought. This will help us preserve this critical resource and mitigate the effects of future droughts,” said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Director Samantha Phillips.
To further protect water resources, residents and businesses are urged to ensure indoor toilets, faucets, showers, and other infrastructure are WaterSense efficient. Additional water conservation tips include:
- 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.
By taking proactive measures now, the state will decrease stress on water systems during extended periods of dry conditions. For more information on water conservation and what residents and communities can do, visit the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ drought, water conservation, and indoor and outdoor water use pages. Furthermore, in an effort to support municipalities, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) provides technical assistance regarding managing systems, which includes assistance on the use of emergency connections and water supplies.
“It is nice to have conditions back to normal across the state as we head into the period of the year when outdoor watering stops and conditions would ordinarily improve,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “We urge residents to continue to follow water use directions from their local water supplier and continue to conserve water in order to preserve future supplies.”
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. Moreover, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) water supply system is not currently experiencing drought conditions, as defined within its individual plan.
During ongoing drought conditions, the Commonwealth’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 meet again if/when a region in the state is experiencing ongoing drought conditions.