Webmaster’s Note: In support of Resolution #11 requiring Maine State Grange to enact a strategy including policy, education, and resource support of agriculture, the following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119. Grangers are invited to submit articles and information for consideration.
The State’s Drought Task Force (DTF) met recently for the fourth time in as many months to reassess conditions related to the ongoing drought in Maine. Although recent rain has improved surface water levels across much of the State, ground water levels remain low.
Ground water levels are expected to take longer to recover, with seven sites still showing the lowest levels on record.
Recent drought monitoring data show extreme drought status eliminated and severe drought status shrinking across Maine. Most of the State is now considered abnormally dry or in moderate drought status. Regionally, extreme drought is reported mostly in southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
“We continue to encourage those experiencing dry wells to call 2-1-1 or go to 211maine.org to report their issues,” said Tom Redstone, Maine Emergency Management Agency Natural Hazards Planner. “This helps us capture the data to determine how widespread the problem is, as well as the areas that continue to be affected.”
The drought continues to cause a variety of problems across the State, including a ten percent reduction in hydropower production and a back-log of those needing new wells due to a lack of available well drillers.
Citizens are urged to avoid filling wells with foreign water due to the dangers of introducing bacteria and pathogens into the well or causing corrosion or lead problems. In addition, imported water could leach out in a matter of days, depending on the construction of the well. Instead, alternatives were suggested, including lowering the pump, deepening the well, or installing a large storage tank for use during the drought. Citizens continue to report dry wells, and those who have seen recovery should continue to use water wisely, as the recovery may be temporary. Some every day conservation tips include:
- shorter showers;
- not running water while brushing teeth or shaving;
- fixing leaky sinks and toilets;
- running full loads of laundry and dishes;
- not peeling vegetables under running water; and
- using a bucket when washing cars rather than running a hose.
More information on water conservation is available at Maineprepares.com. Resources are posted at Maineprepares.com and will be updated as more become available. More resources may become available as conditions worsen, so reporting is very important.
The Task Force will continue to monitor the situation and plans to meet again in December. Reports are available online here or can be obtained from MEMA by calling (207) 624-4400.