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Increased January rainfall ends drought in Massachusetts

The same stretch of the Charles River in Medway, Massachusetts, in 2021 and this year.
Tim Rice (left) and Stephanie Carlisle (right), compliance coordinator for Medway DPW
Courtesy of Charles River Watershed Association
The same stretch of the Charles River in Medway, Massachusetts, in 2021 and this year.

Massachusetts has fully exited a drought that stretched for the last nine months. State environmental officials said above normal rainfall across the state in January ended the drought around Cape Cod and the islands, as well as north of Boston, which were the last places in the state where such conditions had persisted.

Michael Rawlins, a climatologist and associate director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said despite wetter conditions of late, some water sources will take longer to replenish.

"Deeper groundwater recharge, that will likely take several more months, at least normal precipitation in the spring and going into the summer," he said.

There iss also some concern about a relapse.

Vandana Rao is the water policy director for the state office of energy and environmental affairs. She said a lack of snow, and a spring meltdown, could have an impact.

"If there's not a whole lot of snow it may start to impact what happens typically in the spring,” she said. “So, things are looking good for now and I hope we get to see a little more snow.”

Environmental officials praised consumers who used less water during the drought by taking conservation measures, and asked the public to consider continuing to do so.

“We appreciate the efforts of both the consumers of water who reduced their demands and our public water systems that are on the frontlines of delivering clean water in sufficient quantities to meet our needs,” said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Gary Moran. “We urge consumers to continue their efforts to reduce water demand and help protect our environment whether there is a declared drought or not.”

The state is also asking owners and operators of larger buildings to conduct water audits, in order to identify and fix any leaks that are detected and to help determine ways to save water. Homeowners are also being asked to do the same thing.

Meanwhile, Connecticut has been out of drought conditions since early January.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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