Town Water Director Not Worried About Drought Conditions Yet
David Creed •
As drought conditions continue to plague 90 percent of Massachusetts, Wannacomet Water Director Mark Willett said that at this time, the town has no need to panic following the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s updated drought conditions for regions across the state.
“(They) list the islands in a Level 1 mild drought condition as of June 12,” Willett said. “The Cape is listed as normal conditions. This has not impacted our water use. We monitor groundwater elevations routinely and are keeping a close eye on the situation. We have a line of communication open with MASDEP.”
If a region falls within the Level 1-Mild Drought category, it warrants the detailed monitoring of drought conditions as Willett said they are doing, along with close coordination among state and federal agencies such as MASDEP.
Willett said last May and June the island had 4.8 inches of rain. This May and June it had 6.5 inches, which eases any concerns he may have with the island’s water levels.
“The total precipitation for 2021 was 27.2 inches. A very low number. In the first six months of 2022 we had 20.2 inches of precipitation,” he said. “The groundwater levels we monitor are the same to a little bit better than last year.”
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) issued a reminder to residents to exercise caution when using charcoal grills, backyard fire pits, and other open flame outdoor activities to prevent outdoor fires.
“Residents can also assist during the drought by minimizing water usage and following any local water restrictions for their area.”
Willett said if the island reaches a point where residents need to be more mindful of water use, he feels confident everyone will oblige.
“I will say I would not mind a rainy day,” he said. “I feel comfortable knowing that if changes in water use are needed that the Nantucket community would come together like it always does and would support us.”
There are five different tiers regions can fall under. Level 0 – Normal; Level 1 – Mild Drought; Level 2 – Significant Drought; Level 3 – Critical Drought; and Level 4 – Emergency Drought.