The Mumford is normally a powerful little river. It’s the largest of the Blackstone’s tributaries. The Mumford’s wrath has more than once been felt as it overflowed its banks and turned the town into a lake.
Mumford Dam – May 2014
Mighty no more. The Mumford is barely a stream. Until the dam in Uxbridge, where the river crosses Route 16, the river looks more or less normal.
That’s because the dam contains the water, allowing only a small spillway and a tiny overflow to pass the dam and flow into the Mumford. Immediately in front of the dam, there are a few inches of water — enough to sustain a few small fish that can feed at least one blue heron.
Mumford River – September 2014
Just across the overpass formed by Route 16, probably no more than 200 feet from the dam, the river becomes a series of shiny, reflective puddles. Not a river at all. Unable to sustain fish or other water-based life. No turtles. No ducks, geese, or swans.
One heron, waiting for a fish
The drought to which no one is paying attention, which is being ignored by TV stations and newspapers alike, is taking a terrible toll on wildlife. If it doesn’t start to rain soon and steadily, it’s going to take a similar toll on people, especially those of us who get our water from private wells.
Mumford River, just down from the dam
We all share the same aquifer. Not just in the Blackstone Valley. All over the state and across state lines into Connecticut and Rhode Island. The aquifer, a series of interconnected waterways that run through the base rock of New England, doesn’t know about state lines.
Your well, my well, the wells belonging to my neighbors up and down our street and wherever the aquifer runs … they are all connected. Your well may be on your property, but the water belongs to all of us. Your water use affects me as surely as does the lack of rain.
Pretty reflections in the shallow puddles of the Mumford
Even if you are on “city water,” where do you think your water comes from? We are the watershed.
The water source is here. If we are drying up, so are you. Whether you know it or not.
As many of you may know, our well recently went dry. It was a chaotic moment for us. We did not have the money to renovate our well. I had no bright ideas. We had one option. I didn’t like it but we didn’t have a choice. We had to ask for financial help. It probably was the most depressing moment of my adult life.
I was surprised by the response. I am still shaking my head in wonderment at the generosity of friends and strangers. We’ve received enough money to schedule the renovation of our well.
Thank you doesn’t seem adequate to convey our gratitude.