Third Herring Brook, Norwell – Copyright Trillium Studios

Article adapted with permission from Elizabeth Moulds of the Weir River Watershed.

Summer is in full swing! The beautiful and hot weather has also kicked off a Level-2 Significant Drought in our region. Usually associated with parched landscapes out west, drought has increasingly affected the South Shore, as well as the state as a whole (See photos below). We have had below-normal rainfall for the past 5 months. We were last in a drought from January-August, 2021, and before that, for most of 2020. The continued low water supply first impacts our wildlife—particularly our fish and birds, but eventually our ability to grow as a community and our public health. Water conservation has never been more important. Here’s how to help.

Stop the Sprinklers! The MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the MA Emergency Management Agency ask residents to conserve water—by limiting outdoor watering to hand-held between 5:00 PM – 9:00 AM. Your lawn will survive; it goes dormant, not dead, in dry weather. Take the pledge to save water for people, not lawns, and get your free lawn sign to help educate your neighbors.

Call to Action! Another way you can help is to support the passage of the Drought Bill. Currently, water conservation restrictions are enacted at the municipality level, resulting in inconsistencies across watersheds, which are confusing and decrease effectiveness. Officially H.898/S.530, An Act relative to maintaining adequate water supplies through effective drought management, the Drought Bill would give the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs the authority to require uniform water conservation for all water users across a drought region. Agricultural businesses would be exempt. Please email the Senate Ways & Means leadership in support of this bill. Their email addresses and sample text follow:

Dear Chair Rodrigues and Vice Chair Friedman,

Please report S.530 out favorably from committee. This bill is a top priority for me and my community. It will protect our rivers, water supply, and wildlife from harmful drought effects. My community is facing a  “Significant” drought right now – there is no better time to strengthen water conservation.


The health of your rivers and your water supplies are very tightly connected, please conserve! Thank you for being part of the solution! Employing smarter water conservation practices now will help the South Shore continue to be a summer wonderland for generations to come.

Below are photos of streams and rivers in our watershed taken July 24 and 28, 2022 by Trillium Studios:

  • Photo 1 is Iron Mine Brook in Hanover, a tribtuary to the Indian Head River. Hanover has public drinking water supply wells upstream.
  • Photos 2 and 4 are of Third Herring Brook just upstream of the towns of Hanover and Norwell’s public drinking water wells.
  • Photo 3 is of First Herring Brook downstream of Old Oaken Bucket Pond which is the drinking water supply for Scituate.
1) Iron Mine Brook, Hanover – Copyright Trillium Studios
2) Third Herring Brook, Norwell – Copyright Trillium Studios
3) First Herring Brook downstream of Old Oaken Bucket Pond, Scituate – Copyright Trillium Studios


4) Third Herring Brook, Norwell – Copyright Trillium Studios