Monthly Archives: August 2016

NH Drought Update

DATE: August 25, 2016
CONTACT:  Kathryn Michener, (603) 271-6812

NH Drought Management Team: Drought Update

On August 18, 2016, the New Hampshire Drought Management Team (DMT) held its second meeting of the summer at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES). State Climatologist, Mary Stampone, gave a briefing on the latest drought conditions, which indicated an increase in drought intensity across southeastern parts of the state. In accordance with the latest USGS Drought Monitor, portions of Rockingham County and Hillsborough County have risen to the extreme drought classification, the first time New Hampshire has received the extreme drought designation since the Drought Monitor’s inception in 2000. Moderate and severe drought conditions persist in the remaining southern portion of the state, while abnormally dry conditions continue through the central and northeast sections of the state. Also, on August 18, 2016, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center extended the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook forecast through the end of November. The forecast indicates that the drought will persist through this period.

George Hamilton of the UNH Cooperative Extension, and Bruce Cilley of the USDA, provided an update on farmers in the state. While farmers are being impacted by the drought, they are reportedly working extremely hard to maintain their crop yields and are harvesting plenty of fruits and vegetables. Mr. Hamilton stated “If there is ever an important time to support our local farmers, it is now. Visiting local farmers markets and local vegetable stands will help farmers get through this difficult season and succeed in future seasons.”

Drinking water supplies were also discussed during the meeting. Currently, 115 community water systems and three towns are implementing water restrictions and bans and many individuals are conserving water voluntarily. While the public has done a good job of adhering to voluntary water restrictions and bans, some public water suppliers, such as Portsmouth Water Works, are asking their communities to do more and are transitioning to mandatory water restrictions. NHDES is also asking the public to continue to conserve where they can and, in drought areas particularly, to refrain from using water outdoors accept for hand watering of vegetable gardens and newly planted growth. The priority continues to be on protecting water supplies now to avoid or delay potential water shortage emergencies in the future.

The DMT will likely meet again in mid-September.

Parallel to the work of the DMT, Governor Hassan coordinated with federal, state and local officials to assess how drought has impacted the agriculture industry and on August 5, 2016, requested a Secretarial Drought Disaster Designation from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since then, Merrimack, Hillsborough and Rockingham Counties reached the D3, Extreme Drought designation, fast-tracking Governor Hassan’s request and automatically granting the request for the D3-designated and contiguous counties. See and

For updates on drought conditions and outdoor water use restrictions, water efficiency tips, and drought guidance for municipalities, public water systems, and homeowners, visit and scroll through the “A-Z List” to the “Drought Management Program.”

The DMT includes federal, state, municipal, environmental, recreational, business and industry officials, and is coordinated by NHDES. The DMT provides water users, municipalities and the public with information about drought conditions and impacts as well as recommended actions that can be taken to prepare for and respond to drought.

Agencies/organizations participating in the DMT:
City of Portsmouth, Eversource, Granite State Hydropower Association, Granite State Rural Water, Local Government Center, Manchester Water Works, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NH Association of Health Officers, NH Association of Regional Planning Commission, NH Business and Industry Association, NH Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, NH Department of Agriculture, NH Department of Environmental Services, NH Department of Fish and Game, NH Department of Health and Human Services, NH Department of Resources and Economic Development, NH Department of Safety, NH Farm Bureau, NH Governor’s Office, NH Health Officers Association, NH Lakes Management Advisory Committee, NH Municipal Association, NH Office of Energy and Planning, NH Public Utilities Commission, NH Rivers Management Advisory Committee, NH State Climatologist, NH State Geologist, NH Water Well Board, NH Water Works Association, Ski NH, UNH Cooperative Extension, United States Army Corps of Engineers, United States Geological Survey, USDA Farm Service Agency, USDA Rural Development

Massachusetts Drought Conditions Persist / Worsen

Outdoor-Indoor Water Use Tips pdf format of Outdoor-Indoor Water Use Tips

BOSTON – August 12, 2016 – With most of Massachusetts continuing to experience dry conditions for a fifth straight month, today, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton declared the following drought levels throughout the Commonwealth:

  • Drought Warning for Central and Northeast Massachusetts
    (up from a Drought Watch in July);
  • Drought Watch for Southeast Massachusetts and the Connecticut River Valley
    (up from a Drought Advisory in July); and
  • Drought Advisory for Western Massachusetts and the Cape and Islands.

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.

“The declaration made today represents the lasting agricultural, environmental, economic, and public safety impacts associated with prolonged drought conditions,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The Baker-Polito Administration will continue to work with the Drought Management Task Force, government officials, and stakeholders to ensure appropriate actions are taken to minimize any harmful effects of the drought. The public is strongly encouraged to limit outdoor water usage, and integrate water-saving techniques into their daily routines.”

“With drought conditions persisting, and worsening in some areas, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is asking the public to actively conserve water by reducing indoor and outdoor water usage” said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Director Kurt Schwartz. “Additionally, because of the increased threat of brush and wildland fires due to the extremely dry conditions, the public is urged to exercise extreme caution when using matches, charcoal grills, and other open flames during outdoor activities.”

A Drought Warning, as outlined in the Massachusetts Drought Management Plan links to PDF file, indicates consecutive months of groundwater, stream flow, and reservoir levels being below normal, and initiates a much more concerted set of government responses including instating water restrictions, and more intensified monitoring and coordination between the agencies. Areas within the Drought Warning are currently experiencing precipitation levels 5-8 inches below normal over past four months. The declaration of a Drought Watch represents extremely low groundwater and streamflow levels resulting from prolonged periods of precipitation deficit, 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. Additionally, a Drought Advisory indicates a level of dry conditions that warrants closer tracking by government agencies.



The state continues to intensely monitor and assess the drought situation, and environmental and agricultural impacts, and asks the public to be mindful of the amount of water they are using, and to limit outdoor water use to ensure essential needs such as drinking water, fire protection, and crop hydration are being met.

For Regions in Drought Warning:

  • Outdoor water use should be banned.

For Regions in Drought Watch:

  • Outdoor watering should be limited to “handheld” with a hose or a watering can after 5pm or before 9am (to avoid evaporative losses); and
  • Filling swimming pools, washing cars and washing buildings should be prohibited.

For Regions in Drought Advisory:

  • Outdoor watering with irrigation systems and sprinklers should be limited to no more than one day per week; and
  • Watering with a handheld hose should be limited to after 5pm or before 9 am (to avoid evaporative losses).

Certain water uses are not subject to mandatory restrictions, those include: for health or safety reasons; the production of food and fiber; the maintenance of livestock; and to meet the core functions of a business. Additionally, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is providing technical assistance to communities on managing systems, including assistance on use of emergency connections and water supplies, as well as assisting towns on how to request a declaration of drought emergency.

“We are asking people to heed the restrictions put on non-essential outdoor water use – especially when lawn-watering – that local water suppliers are putting in place to conserve important resources under these adverse conditions,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “MassDEP will continue to provide technical assistance to water suppliers.”

Task Force officials noted that while reservoir levels, especially smaller systems, are low for this time of year, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) water supply system is not currently experiencing drought conditions, as defined within its individual plan.

The declaration of a Drought Warning, Drought Watch, and Drought Advisory requires the Drought Management Task Force to meet on a regular basis to more closely assess conditions across the state, coordinate dissemination of information to the public, and help state, federal and local agencies prepare any responses that may be needed in the future. The Task Force will next meet in September. For further information on water conservation and what you can do, visit the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s drought management page and the MassDEP Water Conservation page.

Irrigation Installation Training – Beverly, MA: Sept 13 from 8:00 – 4:00

HandClassrm green from paint outof Pubs-on Field Training

Date:               Sept 13, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Tuesday)
Rain Date:      Sept 14, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Wednesday)
Field Location:    797 Hale St, Beverly, MA
Cost:   $99;          Training Registration:     Required

Gear up for success with hands-on installation of an irrigation system from beginning to end!

• Design and Layout in the field.
• Job Flow Discussions.
• Selection and Installation of Sprinkler, Piping, Valves, Drip and Backflow.
• Scheduling and Controller Review, and Internet-based Programming.
• Tools, Job Preparation, Wire Locating and more.

The IANE is proud to co-sponsor this event.