Drought severe – and spreading

  • Rocks are exposed with the water level down on the Merrimack River from the continuing drought in the state on Thursday. Photos by GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • A spillway into the Merrimack River in Penacook is shown to have little water on Thursday.

  • A spillway into the Merrimack River in Penacook is void of hardly any water on Thursday, September 17, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Rocks are exposed with the water level down on the Merrimack River from the continuing drought in the state on Thursday, September 17, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Feeder streams to Penacook Lake (off Lakeview Drive) are typically flowing with water. Marco Philippon / Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 9/20/2020 4:23:24 PM

Drought conditions continue to worsen in northern New England, with much of New Hampshire and parts of Maine in a severe drought, according to a national weekly report released Thursday.

The State Drought Monitor maintained by the University of Nebraska lists 72.39% of New Hampshire in a severe drought.

That’s up from 28.31% last week. In Maine, 56.18% of the state is in a severe drought, up from 37.48% last week. A small part of Aroostook County – 3.56% – showed extreme drought conditions.

Nearly 44% of Vermont was listed in a moderate drought, unchanged from last week. Small areas of Essex and Caledonia counties showed severe drought.

Concord Water Treatment Superintendent Marco Phillippon knows all to well about the current situation at the city’s water supply at Penacook Lake, but drawing from the Contoocook River has helped.

“The precipitation deviation has grown to 9.0 inches below average for this time of year. Feeder streams and springs have all but stopped producing water that naturally fills the lake. Penacook Lake is in good shape as the city council of Concord approved pumping station improvements in 2018 that have allowed us to reliably transfer water from the Contoocook River,” said Phillippon.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services on Tuesday announced its annual fall drawdown of lakes and ponds controlled by its dams. It said because of the drought conditions, the levels of many of these lakes are already a foot or more below full. The drawdowns are conducted each fall to reduce winter ice damage to shoreline properties and to reduce spring flooding.

Phillippon says things could get worse.

“Drought conditions will continue to be monitored closely. Watering restrictions are not currently in place for Concord, but it is possible restrictions could be implemented if there is a pattern of high water consumption and drought conditions continue,” he said.




Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301
603-224-5301

 

© 2020 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy