"Water not used today is water in the bank for tomorrow"
This summer's drought, already the century's third worst in the Mid-Atlantic, continues to worsen and is spreading into northeastern states, the Carolinas and west into Ohio and Indiana. Meanwhile, in the Mid-Atlantic, drinking water supplies are being threatened in some areas as salty ocean water moves upstream into normally freshwater areas.
"The drought is worsening and is beginning to spread," said USGS Chief Hydrologist Robert M. Hirsch. "With the recent lack of precipitation throughout the East, conditions do not look positive for any improvement in the immediate future.
"Farmers, rural homeowners with private wells and small communities are feeling the drought most severely. Major metropolitan areas, because of good planning in the wake of earlier droughts, generally have sufficient storage," Hirsch said. "Water supply is like a bank account. We're dipping into our savings in many areas. And our savings account, while in good shape in many areas, won't last forever. Along with planning, conservation is important too. Water not used today is generally water in the bank for tomorrow."
The U.S. Geological Survey said today that in New England, 70 percent of streams have recorded below-normal flows and record lows have been set in 13 percent of those streams. In southern Maine, for example, record-low streamflows were recorded this week on the Piscatiquis, Carrabassett, Sandy, Swift, Sheepscot, Narraguagus, and Royal Rivers.
In the Southeast, nearly 75 percent of streamflows are below normal this week. Just a week ago, only 52 percent of streamflows were below normal. Record-low flows have now been set on 10 percent of those stations, where a week ago, only 1 percent were breaking records. USGS stream gages in North Carolina reported record lows for Friday on the Ararat, South Yadkin, Broad and Star rivers.