State Drought Task Force Meets for Last Time until Spring
December 9, 2016
AUGUSTA, MAINE —The State’s Drought Task Force (DTF) met today for its final meeting in 2016 to discuss conditions related to the ongoing drought in Maine. The drought is expected to continue through the winter, but should slowly improve.
“Much of the state is still in some form of drought or abnormally dry, although we have seen improvements over the last few months,” said Maine Emergency Management Agency Director Bruce Fitzgerald. “Now what we need is snow and we need it to get into the ground.”
“Severe drought spread to the north and east last month,” said Tom Hawley of the National Weather Service in Gray. “But, there has been some improvement in the last one to two weeks.”
Hawley stated that the six to ten day forecast calls for colder temperatures and higher than normal precipitation. Once the ground is frozen, precipitation will no longer reach groundwater to help with recharge.
“Surface water is normal overall,” said Nicholas Stasulis, Data Section Chief, U.S. Geological Survey. “Groundwater conditions were very low into November but are showing recharge into December.”
Since October, 426 dry well reports have been recorded through 2-1-1 Maine. Poland Springs, Good Shepherd Food Bank and the Red Cross are teaming up to help those who have reported dry wells. Poland Springs donated bottled water, Good Shepherd will distribute the water and the Red Cross will contact homeowners to make them aware of the assistance.
Maine State Housing has received a second allocation of $250,000 to assist low-income homeowners with dry wells. Interested homeowners should contact their local Community Action Program. Farmers should be thinking ahead to next season and are encouraged to contact the USDA Farm Service Agency regarding the Noninsured Crop Disaster Program and assistance for livestock.
Citizens are reminded to avoid filling wells with foreign water due to the dangers of contamination, corrosion or lead problems. Citizens are encouraged to use water wisely. More information on water conservation is available at Maineprepares.com.
Resources are posted at Maineprepares.com and will be updated as more become available. Barring an unexpected change in conditions, the Drought Task Force will wait until the River Flow Advisory Commission convenes in March 2017. Reports will be available online at www.maine.gov/mema or can be obtained from MEMA by calling 207-624-4400.