There are a number of resources that water utility managers can access to monitor current climatological conditions and attempt to gauge the impact of drought on their local water supply situation.
U.S. Drought Monitor New England Watershed (jpg)
The U.S. Drought Monitor for the New England Watershed provides a more regional view. The U.S. Drought Monitor is published weekly by the National Drought Mitigation Center. Five stages of intensity of drought are calculated.
Palmer Drought Index
The Palmer Drought Index is produced by NOAA. From the home page one can navigate to various subpages which provide an explanation of the index, maps of state, county and climate divisions, the actual index numbers and other information.
Palmer Drought Index, Eastern Region (txt)
The Palmer Drought Index, Eastern Region provides an interesting comparative analysis as well as estimates of the precipitation needed to end a drought.
Effect of Drought on the Northeast (PDF)
(1961 – 66) USGS Atlas HA - 243
It is widely recognized that the drought of record for the Northeast occurred in the 1960’s. Indeed, that drought provided the basis of design for water systems in this region. A 1966 USGS Atlas, which illustrates the impact of that drought on water resources in the Northeast, resides on the USGS website.