LIVING THROUGH A DROUGHT

It hasn’t rained in weeks and it has been very hot. The trees are dropping green leaves which is a very unhealthy sign for the trees. It means that the roots are dying and many of these trees will die and not come back in the spring. The forsythia are turning brown. The rivers are so low the fish are dying. The herons have flown to deeper rivers. I try not to worry about water and our well. It’s a deep well and anyway, worrying about it isn’t going to make it rain. Maybe we need to organize a special dance?

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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.

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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.

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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. Of course, we haven’t been out much, but we do hear about it on the news and they’ve been taking a lot of pictures of dried out rivers all over the state.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

We’re burning up. As I see the first tenth 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 need water.

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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 and considering the rest of our  worries, adding one more doesn’t seem sensible … but it’s hard to not worry.

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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.



Categories: Blackstone Valley, climate, Dams and Waterfalls, Photography, river, Water, Weather

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

26 replies

  1. Hope we both get some rain because we are basically suffering the same conditions you describe here including the restrictions. I looked out the window yesterday and saw a neighbor with an overhead sprinkler going round and round and thought he must not check local news because that’s definitely not allowed right now. My grandparents had a well, and even to this day I can remember the concerns when we experienced this kind of drought. Fingers crossed for some rain this week.

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    • A lot of people seem to think that water “belongs” to them without recognizing that we all draw from the same sources. Pond, stream or well, it all goes back to the underground streams that feed the pond, stream, lake, reservoir, and well in your backyard. When anyone uses a lot of water, he is using EVERYONE’s water. It’s this kind of thinking that has wound us up in the ecological nightmare we are in.

      Summer is usually hot and dry, but this is drier and hotter than I ever remember. We’ve had over 100 degree days before, but they didn’t last a week or two. And by this time of year, we are beginning to get the first of the autumn rains, though having the aspen change color isn’t unusual. By mid-end of August, they are the first to change. They are also the first to open.

      Worrying about it doesn’t help much, though maybe we need to dance? It’s cool and gray here today. Maybe we’ll get a little drizzle, but hopefully tomorrow, we’ll get more. I don’t even care if we lose Autumn again, as long as the trees don’t die! A lot of life depends on those woods. We need them and the birds, squirrels, raccoons, flying squirrels, foxes, and coyotes need them too.

      I admit that I use the hose to water the plants on the deck. It’s just 11 big plants and two small ones … and I refresh the tin of water I leave for the birds. But no sprinklers. No car washing. We do laundry once a week, occasionally twice when we need to do the linens which are a whole load.

      It’s hard NOT to worry when you have a well and you know how they work. I think I’ll run that piece again, remind folks that water doesn’t belong to the well owner. This is a watershed. The water belongs to everyone!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. We are suppose to get some rain tomorrow and Monday too. I’ll try to send you some Marilyn.
    Leslie

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  3. Crazy. Up here in Calgary it rained every other day in July. Thunderstorms. We were soggy. Now we are enjoying some sunshine in August.

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  4. Its a gardeners nightmare, and a concern for everyone.

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  5. Just spent 2 days in France where our ‘garden’ (it’s just a word, like Cholera or Apple) is a brown-black burnt field, and where it rained hard and copiously the night of our arrival for the FIRST TIME in 5 months. The ground is so hardened up that the water just gurgled whatever which way. With daily temps of 40C and over what this world here needs, is 3-4 days of GENTLE rain…. but this is not going to happen. It’s gonna (when and if it happens) be violent, dangerous and it will create more chaos in an already deeply disturbed world. We’ve been busy destroying our habitat and we’re doing that just fine. Not having enough clean water or any water puts us right at par with the poorest of poor in the ‘underdeveloped’ countries. Not something we ever thought we had to consider.
    Back in Switzerland, temps are generally rising too, but with all the mountains it always was much more rain and shine than elsewhere. We had some ‘good’ rain, then very hot temps, and then some storms, rain and shine, but always in manageable quantities. Mind you, the farmers were deeply worried too, no grass for the cows, the fruit not developing because of the lengthy heat…. but still, in comparison to elsewhere we (they) were complaining on a rather high level.

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    • Altitude helps to a degree, but oddly enough Switzerland is one of the countries where the temperature overall has risen more than 2 degrees centigrade. So far, so good, but they have no aquifer, so when it doesn’t rain, they go really dry, really fast.

      Collectively, the nations of earth need to get behind a full-throttle repair of our environment. The bits and pieces haven’t done much to fix any of the problems. I can only hope that our so-called leaders get behind climate repair efforts and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Here in the UK, we were approaching drought conditions with grass dying and trees looking the worst for wear, but storms have thankfully brought rain to many places.

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  7. It rarely rains in my part of the world between May and October and we had a below normal amount of rain this past winter, so we in Northern California are in drought conditions, as well, with very hot temperatures and an almost continuous threat of wildfires. But we have town water, so at least I don’t have to worry about a well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Town water depends on big wells. It’s really a single ecosystem, as our well is just one piece of the aquifer that runs under almost every state in New England. There are many people who believe it’s “their” well, so they don’t have to obey water restrictions, but it’s simply not true. We all drill down to the same underground streams. Our “town water” is built on big lakes that feed off the SAME aquifers. Wherever you get your water, it still depends on rainfall and we haven’t had nearly enough of that, at least on both coasts. INLAND there are still flooded area.The irony has not been lost here.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Our long dry summer ended with torrents of rain the other day and since then it has barely let up. I hope you get your rain too.

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    • I hope we get at least a little bit today. It’s finally cooler and that can’t hurt, either. But the outlook for our world’s ecosystem is dodgy at best. Who every heard of San Francisco with temps up to 40 C? You used to need a sweater there in mid-summer. Summer was always dry here, but not THIS dry … and of course we didn’t get snow last winter, so there was no snow runoff in the spring. I really hope we get some international leadership on this ecological mess!

      Like

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