Barnstable County Increasing Monitoring as Drought Worsens

BARNSTABLE – Drought conditions on Cape Cod and the Islands have worsened, says state environmental officials. 

The Cape has been moved to Level 3 – Critical Drought conditions while the islands were elevated to Level 2 – Significant Drought. 

Cape Cod Commission Water Analyst Tim Pasakarnis said during a meeting with the Barnstable County Board of Commissioners that the ongoing drought conditions do strain water supplies, though the Cape is not at risk for running out of drinkable water.

“It does create some potential issues with meeting this peak demand from the seasonal population, and that could be in terms of volume or, as has been seen locally, concerns about meeting pressure for things like fire and emergency response,” said Pasakarnis. 

Commissioner Mark Forest said that PFAS contamination and water quality issues further stress supply issues as the drought worsens.

While the year started mostly average, the months steadily warmed to above average temperatures. Though some rainfall hit the Lower Cape this week, Pasakarnis said that it will do little to help the region at large.

“We’re still between 2 and 5 degrees above normal for average temperatures for the month, and at 17% of normal precipitation with very little precipitation predicted.”

During Critical Drought conditions, state officials urge residents and businesses to stop all non-essential outdoor watering and minimize overall water use. They also warned that the risk of wildland fires is increased. 

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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