Maine DEP reports drought and irrigation related impacts to surface waters in Aroostook County
August 24, 2020
Contact: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842 email@example.com or Bill Sheehan, Director, DEP Northern Maine Regional Office (207) 554-0783 firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUSTA, August 24, 2020 - The majority of Aroostook County is experiencing an increasingly severe drought with moderate drought conditions in the rest of the county. As a result, water levels in many streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, and wetlands are at low levels. Stream and river flows are particularly low with flows well below the summer season August median level since early June. Unfortunately, low precipitation amounts and warmer temperatures that are anticipated to become more frequent in summer months due to climate change create favorable conditions for droughts.
Stream and river water levels below the August median level can not legally be used as a water source for irrigation without site specific DEP approval. Irrigation withdrawal during the current drought conditions will further lower stream and river levels and may result in dewatering of segments and fish kills that are a violation of law. Withdrawals from lakes, ponds, or other wetlands may similarly result in worsening environmental impacts. Conservation or other best practices that reduce the amount of water withdrawal are encouraged.