|No Drought Conditions In Berkshire County |
|12:03PM / Tuesday, July 20, 2021|
BOSTON — With precipitation events occurring throughout Massachusetts over the course of the past several weeks, drought conditions in Berkshire County, along with the majority of regions in the Commonwealth, have improved.
Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides declared Level 0-Normal Conditions in all regions across the Commonwealth, except the Cape Cod region, which remains at a Level 1-Mild Drought.
"Following recent rainstorms throughout much of the state and continued water conservation efforts, most regions of the Commonwealth have made a strong recovery and are now under normal conditions," said Theoharides. "However, Cape Cod is still experiencing dry conditions that require further monitoring and efforts to aid in a full recovery of the area's water indices, and residents and businesses across Massachusetts should continue to practice water conservation methods to conserve the Commonwealth's water resources."
Tropical Storm Elsa, as well as improving precipitation in prior months, helped improve conditions throughout the Commonwealth.
After reviewing June's data including hydrological conditions for the month, it was determined that the month's rainfall varied considerably across the state, but was mostly below normal. The lowest totals (1.5 to 2.5 inches) were found across Cape Cod and the Islands, as well as the northern half of the Commonwealth away from the coast. Along the northeast and southern half of Massachusetts, excluding the Cape and Islands, higher rainfall totals of 2 to around 4 inches were recorded.
However, the month of July has brought considerable rainfall to the Commonwealth, with much of the state - except the Cape - receiving 2.5 to 5 inches of rainfall, resulting in a return to normal conditions for most of the state. As rainfall continues to accumulate through the month of July, state officials will monitor the Cape Cod region to assess potential improvements to drought conditions.
"Since the end of June, we have experienced exceptional rainfall, giving us one of the wettest months of July on record and bringing the drought level in many parts of the Commonwealth back to normal," said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. "As we have seen in recent months, weather conditions can change quickly, so we urge residents to continue to follow the outdoor water use and conservation instructions provided by their local water provider."
Streamflow has recovered across the state except in the Connecticut River Valley Region, where it is slightly below normal. More significant departures from normal were seen on the Cape, where streamflow remains low. Additionally, groundwater saw full recovery in all regions except Cape Cod. Importantly, fire danger is in the normal range with minimized deep burning fire behavior.
As outlined in the Massachusetts Drought Management Plan, a Level 1-Mild Drought warrants detailed monitoring of drought conditions, close coordination among state and federal agencies, and technical outreach and assistance to the affected municipalities. Officials will continue monitoring the region closely to better understand if there are any improvements from recent precipitation events.
Once a month, upon a review of available data, the state'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 continue to meet while any of the state has a declaration of Level 1-Mild Drought or higher, and provide these key recommendations.
The Drought Management Task Force will meet again on Thursday, August 5, 2021 at 1:00PM. Ongoing efforts include state agencies closely monitor and assess conditions across the Commonwealth, coordinate any needed dissemination of information to the public, and help state, federal and local agencies prepare additional responses that may be needed in the future. For further information on water conservation and what residents and communities can do, visit the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs' drought page and water conservation pages.