State environmental officials are urging residents living in the Southeastern and Islands regions of Massachusetts to conserve their water use after a mild drought was declared in the area Wednesday.
Irregular rainfall over the last several months has led to below average participation statistics for Eastern Massachusetts, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs said in a statement. Residents are advised to reduce overall water use, limit outdoor watering to one day a week between the hours of 5 p.m. to 9 a.m., conduct water audits on larger buildings and harvest rainwater for outdoor watering.
Newly-minted Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card said state officials continue to monitor the conditions and ask everyone in the two regions to “be mindful of water usage as we advance further into the growing and outdoor recreational seasons.”
“With forecasts showing below normal rainfalls with elevated temperatures, it’s important that we all administer water conservation practices early in the year to minimize stress on our water supply systems and natural habitats,” Card said in a statement.
The state as a whole has experienced intermittent rainfall events but officials say the southeastern part of the state has been most impacted. The decision to declare a drought came after discussions between the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Drought Management Task Force earlier this month.
“Significantly, due to high evapotranspiration and early leaf out occurring, available water in the hydrological systems have been decreasing,” the drought advisory said. “The declaration will remain in effect until water levels return to normal conditions in those regions.”
The new drought level means communities are advised to establish year-round water conservation programs, disseminate drought information and establish a local drought management plan.
“All these steps will greatly help reduce water use to ensure essential needs, such as drinking water and fire protection, are being met, habitats have enough water to support their natural functions, and to sustain the Commonwealth’s water supplies,” the advisory said.
The Connecticut River Valley, Central, Northeast, Western and Cape Cod regions remain at normal conditions, the state said.