Thursday morning the United States Drought Monitor more than quadrupled the area of the state considered to be under an extreme drought. A major portion of that area includes the towns on the South Shore. The U.S. Drought Monitor last week put a total of 3.66 percent of the state in the “extreme drought” category, a classification that a National Weather Service meteorologist said was unprecedented.

On Friday, August 12, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton issued a drought warning – the highest level before an emergency is declared – for Central and Northeast Massachusetts. The drought warning means that groundwater and streams are at or near record low levels. The fire risk is high and there is no end in sight to this drought.

It is important to conserve water now. Please do your part to save water. Stop watering and let your brown lawn be part of the new “green.” It will revive with cooler weather and rainfall.  The EEA strongly recommended that towns in drought warning immediately ban all outdoor water use. 

Reductions in indoor water use are also vital. You can help conserve water with these easy tips:

  1. Run the dishwasher and washing machines only when full.
  2. Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, shave or do dishes.
  3. Take shorter showers. Don’t fill the tub all the way when taking a bath.
  4. Use the microwave, a bowl of water, or place frozen food in the refrigerator overnight instead of running the tap to thaw it out.
  5. Flush toilets only when necessary.
  6. Find and fix household leaks.
  7. Install water efficient showerheads- install a 2.5 gallons per minute or less showerhead.
  8. Install faucet aerators- reduce faucet flow to 1.5-2.5 gallons per minute.
  9. Install a 1.6 gallon toilet- save up to 5.4 gallons per flush depending on your current toilet model.
  10. Use a water and energy efficient washing machine.
  11. Use a high efficiency dishwasher.

The choice between water for green lawns or water for drinking and firefighting is clear. Help us spread the word. Please ask your friends and neighbors to do their part by not watering lawns and conserving water indoors. Thank you for doing your part.