September 2021

Drought Update

August 5, 2022


  • According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 72.38% of the state is experiencing "moderate drought" and 13.29% is experiencing "severe drought". Over the month of July, drought conditions have worsened to "severe" along New Hampshire's southeast border with Massachusetts. 

  • The state's groundwater level monitoring network indicates much below normal (<10 percentile) and low (below lowest monthly median) groundwater levels along the Connecticut River Valley from Lancaster to Newport, as well as in Campton, Albany, New Durham and East Kingston. These levels are indicative of a more severe hydrological drought than represented on the U.S. Drought Monitor map.

  • With the exception of the the Northern Merrimack River and the Pemigewasset River, stream flows are low across the state.

  • The monthly precipitation outlook leans toward below normal precipitation. The monthly temperature outlook indicates above normal temperatures are likely.

  • High heat is expected to continue through Monday, with the possibility of scattered thunderstorms today, tomorrow, and Monday. More widespread showers are expected on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Message

Community water systems and municipalities experiencing drought, as indicated on the U.S. Drought Monitor map, should implement mandatory outdoor water use restrictions. The level of restriction shall be based on the information above, known local impacts and if known, current availability of water supply. NHDES recommends the following:

  • In all areas experiencing drought, limit landscape watering to before 7am and after 8pm.

  • In areas of moderate drought, reduce landscape watering to even and odd days based on address.

  • In areas of severe drought, limit landscape watering to two days a week and limit unnecessary water use such as washing cars and driveways and filling pools.

  • Despite the level of drought, in areas with much below or low groundwater levels, ban outdoor water use with the exception of hand watering vegetable gardens.

Community water systems, as well as municipalities implementing lawn watering restrictions within town boundaries pursuant to RSA 41:11-dshould report restrictions to NHDES using the Water Use Restriction Reporting Form.

Water Use Restriction Reporting Form

Drought Conditions and Water Use Restrictions

U.S. Drought Monitor

This week's drought monitor indicates the following:

  • 13.29% of the state is experiencing "severe drought".

  • 72.38% of the state is experiencing "moderate drought".

  • 12.87% of the state is experiencing "abnormally dry" conditions.

  • 1.46% of the state is experiencing normal conditions.

Water Use Restrictions List

  • Sixty-five community water systems and six municipalities have outdoor water use restrictions in place, impacting approximately 191,500 people. Sixty-nine restrictions are mandatory, and two restrictions are voluntary.

Hydrological Conditions

July NH Geological Survey Monthly Groundwater Level Report

  • Groundwater levels in monitoring wells in Southeast New Hampshire, the eastern Lakes Region and the White Mountains Region are at low to below normal levels (0 to 25th percentile). Since mid-June, groundwater levels in these areas have been dropping more rapidly than normal for this time of year .

  • Groundwater levels near the Connecticut River Valley from Newport to Lancaster are at low to much below normal levels (0 to 10th percentile), a trend that has been observed since April of this year. Longer term groundwater level trends indicate that these wells likely never fully recovered from the 2020/2021 drought and were impacted by the lack of adequate recharge this spring due to a low snowpack.

  • The most recent groundwater levels recorded for the monitoring wells in Newport, Campton, and East Kingston, circled on the below map, are lower than the lowest monthly median for July.

USGS Streamflows

Forecasts and Outlooks

Precipitation and Temperature Outlooks

August Precipitation and Temperature Outlook

Seasonal Precipitation and Temperature Outlook

For August, September and October

Additional Resources

Regional Forecast - National Weather Service Forecast Discussion

Visit the NHDES Drought Management Webpage