Improvement in drought conditions continues

Lack of snowpack could cause problems in spring and summer, however

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Late winter rain and snowfall has helped to alleviate drought conditions in western Massachusetts and throughout the state. Still, water levels are not where they ought to be.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs has declared a “Drought Watch” for Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties. Berkshire County is under a “Drought Advisory,” which is a lower level of concern. These statuses are improvements from February, where the Berkshires were under a “Drought Watch” and the Pioneer Valley was under a “Drought Warning.”

“After several months of near normal precipitation, we have seen conditions improve, but we are still dealing with a deficit acquired over the last two years,” Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg said. “The next two months are especially important to ensure that we enter the heavy water-use season with conditions as near-normal as possible. We ask for people’s continued attention to conservation, and advise everyone to be aware of any specific limitations imposed by their local public water system.”

While precipitation levels have been around normal lately, the water supply relies partly on the melting of the winter snowpack, and we do not have the snowpack we would typically have at this time of the year to recharge the groundwater.