Wells | New Hampshire Public Radio

Wells

NHDES

New Hampshire is likely headed into an early spring drought despite recent rain and snow, according to the latest national forecast – and state officials are already warning of the potential drinking water impacts.

Melissa Lombard / USGS

New federal research shows drought can increase the risk of unsafe arsenic levels in private drinking water wells -- especially in New Hampshire, Maine and the Midwest, where arsenic in wells is already a problem.

The study from the U.S. Geological Survey comes as forecasters predict the country's worst spring drought since 2013, affecting tens of millions of people, especially in the Western half of the country.

NHDES

October was New Hampshire's wettest month since April, but the state's drought is still extreme in and around Strafford County.

All of the rest of the state remains in moderate drought. At a virtual multi-agency meeting Thursday, state officials said there hasn’t been enough rain recently to alleviate this.

Jonathan W. Chipman / Dartmouth College

Researchers at Dartmouth College are studying ways that doctors can encourage more homeowners to test their private water wells for toxins such as arsenic.

New Hampshire has lots of natural arsenic in its groundwater, and is working toward halving its limit on arsenic in public water systems – joining New Jersey as the only states to differ from the default federal standard.

But as much as half of New Hampshire and the rest of Northern New England relies on unregulated private wells for drinking water. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state is offering emergency aid and bottled water for low-income homeowners whose drinking water wells are running dry due to the ongoing drought.

The state’s Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund is putting up $1.5 million for the relief program, which is the first of its kind in any drought. 

Low-income homeowners whose private wells have run dry can request temporary free deliveries of bottled water for drinking and cooking.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Despite some recent rain, New Hampshire’s drought is growing, causing wells to run dry across the state. And the hotter temperatures of a changing climate could make future droughts more likely. 

As part of NHPR’s By Degrees project, Annie Ropeik reports on how the dry conditions are affecting people who rely on well water, and what it would take to prepare for the future.  

Merlene Whiting Pilotte / Courtesy

More than 10 percent of New Hampshire is now in an extreme drought, with Lake Winnipesaukee and other reservoirs at record low levels and an increasing number of water wells running dry.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Part of New Hampshire has entered an extreme drought for only the second time in 20 years.

The extreme conditions center on the Dover area and extend in a circle from Great Bay, to near Concord, up to the Lakes Region.

The rest of the state is in severe drought, with moderate conditions in the Upper Valley and Monadnock Valley. 

Protecting Water Resources in Drought

Jul 23, 2018

More than half of New Hampshire is in moderate drought, and despite heavy rain these past few days, local and state officials and businesses that depend on water are strategizing to conserve for when it is scarce. How do communities, and the state, respond to extreme weather conditions, including drought, in order to protect their water resources?

Water Contamination in N.H. Addressing PFOA

May 31, 2016
florianhuag / Flickr/CC

With new guidance from EPA on how much of the chemical is too much, and a lawsuit against the plastics plant that is its source, many Granite Staters are glad to see more action around the contamination. But others are still worried: both that the damage is already done, and that there's not enough assurance that it won't happen again.


Gloconda Beekman / Flickr/CC

After the Flint, Michigan water crisis, many around the country started taking a closer look their own water systems. And with a recent contamination scare in southern New Hampshire by the chemical PFOA  - the concerns have become local.  We'll look at the state's sources for drinking water, and the challenges to delivering it free from contaminants.