The entire state of Massachusetts currently holds a status of extreme or severe drought. We’ve had less than 5 inches of rain here in central Massachusetts. Areas around Boston and northward into New Hampshire have had an inch less … around 3.75 inches. That’s very little water. Dangerously little water.


If you’d like to see an interactive “drought map,” here is a LINK. Other states in New England are also dry, but as far as I can tell, Massachusetts is overall, the most dry, although there are areas of New Hampshire, Maine, and New York which are also very hard hit.

For inexplicable reasons, the river has more water in it than it did last year at this time. Maybe whoever controls the water locally decided to give our fish, fowl, and other wildlife a chance to survive. Last year, they had nowhere to nest, and pretty much no food in the dry ponds and rivers.


I love the river and I miss the birds. I haven’t seen a goose, a heron, a swan, or even a duck this entire summer. Not in the spring either. I suppose they have all — sensibly — flown away to places where they stand a better chance of survival.


Ironic, isn’t it? Half the country is drowning in floodwaters. The rest? We’re drying up. Burning up. As I see the first tropical storm of the year heading for Florida, I can’t help but hope it stays a mere storm and brings its precipitation up our way. We really, really need some water.


There is, I might add, nothing more futile and frustrating than worrying about the lack of rain. You can’t do anything about it. Nothing. We have zero control over weather. Fretting about that over which we have no control is mind-destroying.


Nonetheless, I worry about the well. And the aquifer. I have nightmares about drought. Because if our well goes dry, we have no other water source. Neither do our neighbors.

AND THIS JUST IN (Literally, it just showed up in my email):

This is a message from the Uxbridge DPW. Due to the current drought conditions and health of our water supply, the Board of Selectmen voted to increase the water restrictions effective August 23, 2016 to a full ban on nonessential outdoor water usage. The ban on nonessential outdoor water usage are in addition to and supersede the prior restrictions that were recently enacted and will remain in effect until further notice. Examples of non-essential outdoor water uses include the following:

• Uses that are not required for health and safety reasons.
• Irrigation of lawns via sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems.
• Washing of vehicles other than by means of a commercial car wash, except as may be necessary for operator safety.
• Washing of exterior building surfaces, parking lots, driveways or sidewalks.
• The use of handheld hoses for watering vegetable or flower gardens, shrubbery and trees.
• Filling swimming pools.
Any person or entity who violates these restrictions will be fined according to General Bylaw Chapter 336 Water Conservation, Section 9. If using well water for irrigation, there must be signage indicating “well water in use” clearly visible from the street.

Categories: Blackstone Valley, Dams and Waterfalls, Photography, Weather

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27 replies

  1. Our well is holding up, but many neighbors are hauling water. We had plenty of experience with that during the three weeks we waited for the well guy to come out to replace a broken gasket. Lack of rain is a worry… Dan’s thinking about putting in some rain barrels just in case. Weather has been crazy all around the country. Either too much water or not enough and the situation doesn’t seem to be improving. Hoping for a wet autumn to ease the burden for many in our area.


    • Me too! We had a few thunderstorms a week ago, but now, every morning, it’s clear, bright, hot. It would not worry me as much if this drought hadn’t been going on for years. Some years, the heavy snow almost made up for it, but we had a relatively dry winter, too. Weather patterns seem to be changing. Makes you realize how little control we have over the big things in our world. I’m hoping some of those tropical storms amble up the coast bringing rain with them.


  2. That link certainly shows a dry state of affairs. It gets dark up here and I get kind of excited and think it is actually going to rain and it just blows over. I’m sure hoping we all get some sooner than later because I don’t particularly like thinking about the consequences.


    • We’ve had a lot of that too. It looks like rain. It’s dark and the air is heavy. Then it clears without raining. Sometimes, we even get a few thunderclaps … without the rain. I don’t like thinking about it either, especially since there’s nothing I can do about it.


  3. Is the river’s source in a drought stricken region? When we had the biblical flood in 1993, it wasn’t really all that rainy here that summer… The flooding was caused by all of the rain and snow the Northern Plains got that year that all came downriver via the Mississippi and Missouri. I hope the trends for both of our precip situations even out soon….


    • Oh, me too. It seems so grossly unfair that half the country is underwater and the other half is turning to dust. Karma has a bizarre sense of humor.

      The Blackstone used to flood every year in the spring. It’s been seven, maybe eight years since it has even crested … and we have had a couple of the worst winters — the most snow — on record. But no spring rains. Snow melt without rain doesn’t flood. Mind you I certainly don’t mind NOT being underwater every March, but the lack of rain and the overall change in the weather patterns is very worrying.


  4. Oh dear. We are still having problems with our water, it is still being chlorinated. The irony of it is that after our long hot dry summer, the grounds became hard so that when we had all that heavy rain in a storm the water didn’t soak into the ground, but ran of into the bores, carrying contaminates with it. The number of new cases has died off, but the local authorities are getting a hammering for not informing the townspeople. All they did was post a warning on their website and Facebook page. Now who is going to go to those sites. No-one. And what do you get told when you are sick, particularly with gastro illness? That’s right. Drink more water. And guess what. It raged out of control until it hit the news. We have our local council elections coming up. Guess who I am NOT voting for.


    • I’ve seen that too. First, no rain. Everything is parched. Then, heavy rain and flash floods because the ground can’t possibly absorb that much (or sometimes, any) water. Sometimes I feel that nature is pissed and fighting back. I wouldn’t blame her a bit.

      The water in our local water supply (to which we are NOT attached — we have are own well) has suffered similar contamination. They’ve had to close down the water mains completely several times. In this case, it’s because of work along the water mains that apparently keeps damaging the pipes. Considering that everyone knows where the pipes are, it’s hard to understand how come they can’t seem to avoid this.


  5. The irony of the flooding then the draught areas. I thought they were striving for more control of the weather. There’s a ways to go on that project.


  6. I wish I could share some of our rain. The ground is always moist, so we alternate between warm and humid and hot and humid. In fact, I would like to just send the water that was in our basement this season. That will irrigate your property.


    • If water could be easily shared, the world would be a better place. While many areas are flooded, as many other places desperately need water. It seems so wasteful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We can deliver oil by truck, train and pipeline just about anywhere, but there is a will among the powerful to do that. Not so much for water. The ability is surely there.


        • This is one of those things that’s not as easy as it looks. The AMOUNT of water required is HUGE compared to (for example) oil. They do deliver some in tanker trucks in Israel when the drought is bad (it’s an arid zone, so this is not such an unusual occurrence), but it’s barely a drop in the bucket compared to how much water everyone needs on a daily basis. And that’s even when everyone is doing their best to use water as little as possible. You can truck in water to drink, but you can’t bring in enough water for everything.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Odd that New York should be included. I live in NYC and it rains every week usually several times a week! There is always some form of precipitation coming from the skies. Rain in the spring and summer and huge amounts of snow and ice in the winter. I will be glad when I retire and don’t have to fight the weather on my daily commute to and from work.


    • The drought is upstate. North, central, if I’m remembering the map correctly. Downstate, all looks okay. New York is a much bigger state than Massachusetts. I think the part of NY that’s in drought is almost as big as our entire state 🙂


  8. You are in a catch 22- can’t change the weather, the lack of water, so why worry- but because it can affect you directly with your well, how not to worry? I suppose rationing is one proactive way to go, but hard if you love a 15 minute shower. 🙂


    • We’ve had our own water restrictions in place since May. We are always careful with water anyway. Short showers, water is never allowed to just run. But in the end, we need rain over which we have no control. It is difficult not to worry, but I try not to. If worrying really helped, it might be worth it. Since it doesn’t help, I try to think about other things.


  9. This situation makes one see what REALLY matters.Access to water. I’m so sorry you’re bearing the brunt of it. In the UK the Victorian engineers put a lot of thought and effort in providing cities, far from major water sources, with water supplies. It’s amazing that town planners since have not seemed to see the need to carry this work forward. Expensive of course. And suddenly here over the past few years the country has been getting loads of rain – no need then to deal with reservoirs that in the recent past were not meeting our needs. It’s so short-sighted.


    • We live in a watershed, so this is where much of the state gets water. If we are short of water — everyone is short of water. There are other reservoirs too, but this valley forms a major part of our water system. Drought has been rare in this region. I don’t think anyone remembers having such a long period with insufficient rain. Normally, flooding is more of a problem.

      Infrastructure is a big problem throughout the U.S. Roads and bridges are crumbling and outlying areas like ours have never been fully connected to services people in cities and suburbs don’t even think about. We don’t have central water or sewers. We have no public transportation, though I’ve been told there used to be, back in the 1920s and 1930s. I doubt it will happen in my lifetime. Maybe not ever.

      In the current long drought, we are on our own. There are no agencies, no help. I try not to think about it. We’ve done everything within our power to fix our well and bring it up to spec. It’s a good well. But water? That’s up to the gods.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Water is really something out of your control. Either enough falls, too much, or you have drought. We have a lot of water from the glaciers in Switzerland, but they are also causing worry as they seem to be receding over the years. We are very carful how much water we use, it has become very expensive in Switzerland.


    • We are also very careful. This area is a watershed, so other parts of the state depend on this valley for THEIR water and we are low. Not as low as a couple of other areas, but that could change. There is no feeling more helpless than getting up, seeing that it’s another sunny day, and realizing that you’d rather see clouds and hear thunder. And, last winter was warmer than usual with less snow … which mean less water. The woods are dry as tinder, so we also have to worry about fire.


  11. Santa Barbara’s city water comes from a lake that is now so dry you can see the river that created the lake. (See for photos) And there is currently a 40,000 acre fire burning near the lake that will reduce the lake’s capacity by silting and adding ash to the water when it does rain. Five years of rainfall >6 inches per year have taken their toll!


    • This is our eighth year. It’s the lowest rainfall since they started keeping records. We don’t have a reservoir, only the well. I’m afraid to look at your pictures. I’m already having nightmares. Really, no kidding. Weather change is painfully real. And I have no idea what to do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I understand your rationale and concern about our lack of rain and what it could mean. Mother Nature is very, very fickle. I’ve always been a summer person even if I no longer spend lots of time in the sun. I am enjoying this long, hot summer — aware of what it will be like in a few months with that season which shall not be mentioned.


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