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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
PUBLIC GOVERNMENT BUSINESS A to Z LIST

Media Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: August 25, 2016
CONTACT: Kathryn Michener, (603) 271-6812

NH Drought Management Team: Drought Update

On August 18, 2016, the New Hampshire Drought Management Team (DMT) held its second meeting of the summer at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES). State Climatologist, Mary Stampone, gave a briefing on the latest drought conditions, which indicated an increase in drought intensity across southeastern parts of the state. In accordance with the latest USGS Drought Monitor, portions of Rockingham County and Hillsborough County have risen to the extreme drought classification, the first time New Hampshire has received the extreme drought designation since the Drought Monitor’s inception in 2000. Moderate and severe drought conditions persist in the remaining southern portion of the state, while abnormally dry conditions continue through the central and northeast sections of the state. Also, on August 18, 2016, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center extended the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook forecast through the end of November. The forecast indicates that the drought will persist through this period.

George Hamilton of the UNH Cooperative Extension, and Bruce Cilley of the USDA, provided an update on farmers in the state. While farmers are being impacted by the drought, they are reportedly working extremely hard to maintain their crop yields and are harvesting plenty of fruits and vegetables. Mr. Hamilton stated “If there is ever an important time to support our local farmers, it is now. Visiting local farmers markets and local vegetable stands will help farmers get through this difficult season and succeed in future seasons.”

Drinking water supplies were also discussed during the meeting. Currently, 115 community water systems and three towns are implementing water restrictions and bans and many individuals are conserving water voluntarily. While the public has done a good job of adhering to voluntary water restrictions and bans, some public water suppliers, such as Portsmouth Water Works, are asking their communities to do more and are transitioning to mandatory water restrictions. NHDES is also asking the public to continue to conserve where they can and, in drought areas particularly, to refrain from using water outdoors except for hand watering of vegetable gardens and newly planted growth. The priority continues to be on protecting water supplies now to avoid or delay potential water shortage emergencies in the future.

The DMT will likely meet again in mid-September.

Parallel to the work of the DMT, Governor Hassan coordinated with federal, state and local officials to assess how drought has impacted the agriculture industry and on August 5, 2016, requested a Secretarial Drought Disaster Designation from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since then, Merrimack, Hillsborough and Rockingham Counties reached the D3, Extreme Drought designation, fast-tracking Governor Hassan's request and automatically granting the request for the D3-designated and contiguous counties. See www.governor.nh.gov/media/news/2016/pr-2016-08-05-drought.htm and www.fsa.usda.gov/index.

For updates on drought conditions and outdoor water use restrictions, water efficiency tips, and drought guidance for municipalities, public water systems, and homeowners, visit www.des.nh.gov and scroll through the “A-Z List” to the “Drought Management Program.”

The DMT includes federal, state, municipal, environmental, recreational, business and industry officials, and is coordinated by NHDES. The DMT provides water users, municipalities and the public with information about drought conditions and impacts as well as recommended actions that can be taken to prepare for and respond to drought.

Agencies/organizations participating in the DMT:

City of Portsmouth
Eversource
Granite State Hydropower Association
Granite State Rural Water
Local Government Center
Manchester Water Works
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NH Association of Health Officers
NH Association of Regional Planning Commission
NH Business and Industry Association
NH Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
NH Department of Agriculture
NH Department of Environmental Services
NH Department of Fish and Game
NH Department of Health and Human Services
NH Department of Resources and Economic Development
NH Department of Safety
NH Farm Bureau
NH Governor's Office
NH Health Officers Association
NH Lakes Management Advisory Committee
NH Municipal Association
NH Office of Energy and Planning
NH Public Utilities Commission
NH Rivers Management Advisory Committee
NH State Climatologist
NH State Geologist
NH Water Well Board
NH Water Works Association
Ski NH
UNH Cooperative Extension
United States Army Corps of Engineers
United States Geological Survey
USDA Farm Service Agency
USDA Rural Development




NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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