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Drought Now Covers All Of N.H., With Water Restrictions In 150 Local Systems

All of New Hampshire is now in a drought, with severe conditions persisting from the Seacoast to Grafton County.

Moderate drought conditions have expanded into the few areas of the North Country thathad been unaffected, according to a weekly update from the national drought monitor.

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The severe drought hasn’t spread but still covers about 28% of the state, despite recent bouts of precipitation.

Around 150 municipalities and local utilities now have restrictions in place on outdoor water use.

More than 100 of those restrictions are mandatory. That now includes Portsmouth, where residents may only water their lawns and gardens from midnight to 10am on odd-numbered dates.

The city says it’s had nearly 60% less rain than normal since May, when the drought began – though it says the conditions are not as dire as in the state’s last serious drought, in 2016.

The state has cautioned that impacts to water wells tend to lag behind drought conditions, so more people could see their wells running dry further into fall. People with private wells, especially shallower ones, are urged to be conservative and stagger their heavy water uses.

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Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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