No end in sight for drought in Massachusetts
There is no end in sight for the drought that has plagued Massachusetts for months, officials said.
In its monthly meeting Tuesday morning, the state’s Drought Management Task Force found that drought conditions have not improved, despite above average rainfall in October.
Vandana Rao, the assistant director of water supply at the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said the region affected by drought has not changed.
“We’re still very much in a severe drought statewide, and we need to continue to be extremely active in water conservation efforts,” Rao said.
Rao said October’s rainfall was above average in some areas of the state but did little to help. Boston received 5.46 inches in October, authorities said.
“It was similar to a flash flood event where the water ran off and didn’t get a chance to soak into the ground or fill the aquifers,” Rao said. “We do really need 4 to 5 inches of rain each month for a continuous period of time for us to start seeing some recovery.”
Jonathan Yeo, the director of water supply protection at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, said Massachusetts reservoirs are suffering from below average water levels.
“Especially smaller and medium-sized reservoirs are below normal and sometimes far below normal,” Yeo said. “We’re going to need pretty strong precipitation this winter and spring.”
Yeo said the only reservoir that hasn’t been affected is the Quabbin, which is more than 80 percent full and supplies water to the Boston area.
“It is the largest reservoir in New England, and it has over five years of storage,” Yeo said.
Ria Convery, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, said Ashland, Burlington, Cambridge, and Worcester have all purchased water from the Quabbin when necessary.
Convery added that since the beginning of September, Worcester has purchased 599 million gallons, more than any other town. Cambridge has purchased 159 million gallons.
Rao said after the task force’s meeting, the group sent its findings to Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, who will issue a drought declaration in the coming days.