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Drought forces water use restrictions in Rhode Island, Massachusetts

September 1, 2022 -  By

Although recent thunderstorms and heavy rainfall caused flash flooding in southern New England, experts say drought conditions won’t subside without steady rainfall over a longer period of time.

A federal drought-related disaster has been declared in Rhode Island as Providence, New England’s second-largest city, restricts outdoor water use as ABC News reports.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack declared all five of Rhode Island’s counties as “primary natural disaster areas” because of ongoing drought conditions.

Rhode Island saw less than 0.5 inches of rain in July, compared to an average of 2.5 inches, according to Reed’s office. More than 99 percent of the state is experiencing extreme drought, ABC News states.

New water restrictions in New England aren’t limited to Rhode Island. ABC News reports the city of Worcester, Mass., declared a drought and restricted use of outdoor irrigation systems.

The central Massachusetts city of 206,000 residents said its reservoirs have dipped to about 72 percent capacity, according to ABC News.

In response, Worcester officials prohibit the use of irrigation systems between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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