All of New Hampshire is in drought – just like the past two summers

  • Most of New Hampshire is experiencing abnormally dry conditions. (Screenshot, U.S. Drought Monitor)

Monitor staff
Published: 7/14/2022 7:01:01 PM
Modified: 7/14/2022 7:00:46 PM

For the third summer in a row New Hampshire is facing a statewide drought and once again a shortage of wintertime snow is part of the problem.

The U.S. Drought Monitor says “moderate drought” conditions have developed across most of New Hampshire, including Merrimack County, while “significant drought” has developed along most of the state’s border with Massachusetts.

“A low snowpack this past winter and an early spring melt coupled with below average rainfall over the past few months have contributed to dry conditions.  Over the past 30 days, only 25% to 50% of normal precipitation was received throughout most of the state,” the state Department of Environmental Services said in a release.

New Hampshire was considered totally drought-free just a few months ago after a wet, if not snowy, winter. The current concern shows the increasing pattern of “flash droughts” – drought conditions that happen much more quickly than in past decades. This is a function of the climate crisis, which has made extreme weather events like droughts and floods more likely.

The city of Concord, which depends upon Penacook Lake for its drinking supply, says it is not facing a water shortage at this time.

The drought follows a relatively wet, if not snowy, winter in most of New Hampshire south of the White Mountains. As a result, groundwater levels in the southern part of the state are faring better than surface water. Stream flows in the northeast section of the state are very low, the state said.

Mandatory limits on outdoor watering have been instituted in more than a dozen small water districts, mostly serving single sites such as retirement communities that are operated by Pennichuck East Water Utility. That includes two senior living facilities in Bow.

Climate models agree that New Hampshire is likely to see a continued loss of winter snowpack due to climate change.

For updates on drought, including tips for the more than half of state residents who depend on private wells, see

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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