The Bulletin Board

Environmental Services says state is approaching widespread drought

By: - May 28, 2021 1:54 pm
A patch of dry lawn

The state has put out guidance for municipalities on lawn-watering restrictions. (Dana Wormald | New Hampshire Bulletin)

Half of the state is experiencing abnormally dry conditions, according to a recent report from the Department of Environmental Services. The state agency is urging water suppliers to track drought conditions and to ask individuals to conserve water.

The state has put out guidance for municipalities on lawn-watering restrictions. Restrictions can go into place in parts of the state that are experiencing a drought to avoid a situation where residents are watering their lawns, even as nearby wells go dry.  

In April, most wells that are monitored by the state were below typical levels.

The state is in slightly better shape than in mid-April, when abnormally dry and drought conditions were spread throughout the entire state. Last month, rainfall was at nearly normal levels, which helped alleviate drought conditions in about half of the state. But the forecast is calling for only one to six inches for the next 90 days, in a year with below-average rainfall so far.

The state is also predicting slightly above average temperatures in the central and southern parts of the state, which could worsen drought conditions.  

The forecast also indicates that places in the state already experiencing drought can expect it to last through the summer as temperatures in those regions are expected to be above normal. Drought is expected to persist in the western part of the state, including parts of Sullivan, Grafton, and Coos counties.

The impact of these drought conditions will be felt by gardeners, and also those recreating outdoors in areas with increased fire danger. According to New Hampshire Forest Rangers, fire danger has been moderate in the past few days, down from high fire danger last week. A 1.5 acre forest fire burned underground through the roots near a campsite in Westmoreland earlier this week.    

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee reported on energy and environment for New Hampshire Bulletin. She also previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.