Waterstatus: June 15, 2017


Warns Residents of Localized Gypsy Moth Infestations in Eastern Parts of the State



(HARTFORD, CT) – The Connecticut Interagency Drought Workgroup met this week to review current conditions across the state and determined that the state’s Drought Advisory, which was issued last summer, can be lifted effective immediately.  After a thorough review, the group determined that much of the state received above-normal precipitation during May and, despite a somewhat dry start to June, stream and ground water levels are normal or above normal across much of the state, as are water levels in most of the state’s water company reservoirs.


While conditions have been improving for several months, the workgroup maintained the Advisory through the spring leaf-out, a period when drought conditions could have re-intensified rapidly if May had been dry. Last week’s edition of the US Drought Monitor eliminated the last area of the state that had been mapped as Abnormally Dry. It was the first time since April 2015 that the US Drought Monitor did not map any part of Connecticut as being abnormally dry or worse, a period of approximately 110 weeks.


Although conditions have returned to normal overall, the workgroup reminds residents and businesses served by public water suppliers to follow any advice or requests from their supplier or municipality. The Department of Public Health’s website provides a list of water companies that have requested voluntary conservation or imposed mandatory restrictions.  Water conservation can also reduce the impact of future dry periods and the Department of Public Health’s website provides a variety of water conservation fact sheets and guidelines for private well users in times of drought or low precipitation.


One lingering impact of drought, particularly in eastern parts of the state, is localized gypsy moth infestations. Gypsy moth populations were boosted by dry conditions in recent years as a fungus that normally controls their population was suppressed. Not only can such infestations weaken or kill trees, they also increase the potential for fire in wooded areas having significant defoliation. It appears that the recent damp weather has activated the fungus and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection reports sightings of dead and dying Gypsy moth caterpillars.


Drought Advisories have been declared in 2016, 2010, 2007 and 2002, while the just-ended drought was the first time the state issued a Drought Watch in accordance with the State Drought Preparedness and Response Plan. A Drought Advisory and Drought Watch are the first two of the four stages identified in the state drought plan. Decisions regarding drought stages are guided by an assessment of indicator data monitored by state and federal agencies, including precipitation, stream flows, groundwater levels, reservoir status, soil moisture, vegetation moisture conditions, and fire danger conditions. Data are available for review at the state’s Water Status website.


The Connecticut Interagency Drought Workgroup consists of officials from the Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Environmental Protection, Emergency Services and Public Protection, and Public Health, the Office of Policy and Management, and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. The group will continue to monitor conditions across the region and will provide updates as appropriate.




For Immediate Release: June 14, 2017

Christopher McClure

Strategic Research and Communications Advisor

Office of Policy and Management

(860) 524-7362 (Office)

(925) 457-7309 (Mobile)

Content Last Modified on 8/11/2017 3:09:56 PM