WBUR

Mild Winter Causing Drought Conditions Across Mass.

Jonathan Yeo, director of Water Supply Protection for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, at the Cordingly Dam in Newton Lower Falls. (Kathleen McNerney/WBUR)

Jonathan Yeo, director of Water Supply Protection for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, at the Cordingly Dam in Newton Lower Falls. (Kathleen McNerney/WBUR)

BOSTON — Many conservationists are concerned about the state’s rivers, most of which are at or below record lows.

On Friday, the state’s Water Management Task Force will consider whether to issue a drought advisory for parts of Massachusetts, particularly the southeast, east and central regions.

“In the last two years we’ve had flooding and now we’re seeing really dry conditions for this time of year,” said Jonathan Yeo, director of Water Supply Protection for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, as we looked across the Charles River at the Wellesley Dam in Newton Lower Falls.

Near the banks of the river the land was muddy where, Yeo said, it would usually be covered by water this time of the year.

“The concern is if we get any lower than this, it could impact various species,” Yeo said.

Low stream beds can increase water temperatures and cause stress on fish and other wildlife in the rivers, Yeo explained.

Nevertheless, the dry conditions could be reversed if the weather cooperates.

“We need a couple of good rainstorms and we don’t see any right away, but we probably could use an additional 5 inches of rain in next month — would be very helpful and probably can get out of this condition,” Yeo said. “If we don’t get it, we’re probably going to head into May and June in a very dry state. Towns will then be faced with restrictions and frustration for homeowners.”

The water levels are also being closely monitored by the Charles River Watershed Association. The organization’s director, Robert Zimmerman, said it’s a serious problem. He urges residents to conserve as much water as possible to help protect the wildlife.

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