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State Eyeing Low Snowpack as Risk Factor for Summer Water Troubles


State regulators are monitoring how this winter’s low snowpack could affect water supplies in the dry summer months.

The state has between 60 and 75 percent less snow on the ground than average right now. State water division director Tom O’Donovan says that's just one source of the state’s drinking water and other water supplies – in reservoirs, lakes and wells.

“It’s snowpack, plus when does the ground thaw, plus spring rains, plus temperature and precipitation going into the summer itself,” O’Donovan says. “So all four of those factors help determine where we’re going to be at in water come summertime.”

Right now, the state is using dams to top up some surface water supplies, including on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Next, they'll monitor spring rainfall to help determine if drought conditions might be in the picture this summer. Right now, O’Donovan says there’s about a 50-50 chance that could happen.

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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