Drought may be over but challenges remain

Drought may be over but challenges remain.
Given the amount of rain we’ve had over the past few days, it likely comes as no surprise to Essex County residents that the state’s months-long drought has officially ended.
That’s a stark contrast to the end of last year, when 98 percent of the state was under some sort of drought status, according to the monitoring agency.
“There are still some indicators of long-term dryness in the region, but the most recent wet pattern has eliminated all drought concerns for the time being,” Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center wrote in his Monitor report last week.
While we should be thankful those conditions have abated, we should also be aware they can return with another stretch of dry weather.
(The river normally supplies 32 million gallons of water to local cities and towns every day.)
“Under natural conditions, a river like the Ipswich River would be able to withstand a few drought years, but now so little water was getting into the groundwater that the river would die during a drought year like 2016 and it would take at least a decade for it to fully recover.
And that would be if no more droughts occurred, an exceedingly unlikely event.” Clearly, we should be doing more to conserve water, drought or no drought.
The average Massachusetts resident, however, uses anywhere from 75 to 167 gallons of water a day.
Adding low-flow appliances and cutting back on watering the lawn can reduce per-capita water consumption to 20 gallons a day, the Watershed Association estimates.

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