Governor Raimondo Issues Statewide Drought Advisory: Encourages Residents, Businesses to Conserve Water

Governor Gina M. Raimondo is issuing a statewide “Drought Advisory,” based on indicators and assessments from the state’s Drought Steering Committee.

“Rhode Islanders should be aware the state will be taking proactive steps to increase public outreach about water conservation,” Raimondo said. “We all have an important role to play – I encourage residents and businesses to find out who your water supplier is and look out for any water restrictions that may be implemented due to dry conditions throughout the state. I have spoken with my team, and we will continue to closely monitor and assess those conditions moving forward.”

The Drought Steering Committee, which falls under the purview of the Rhode Island Water Resources Board (WRB), invited experts from the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Weather Service to help assess conditions in Rhode Island. The discussion revealed that all four major indices – precipitation, Palmer Drought Severity Index, streamflow, and groundwater – met criteria for a Drought Advisory. As a result, the Committee submitted an official recommendation to the Office of the Governor for a “Drought Advisory,” the lowest of the four drought designations.

“Our water supplies are built to withstand drought conditions, but what the Governor has declared is a heightened state of awareness of the current conditions,” WRB Chairwoman Susan Licardi said. “While this is not an emergency, we want to urge Rhode Islanders to take precautionary measures and be aware of the dry conditions. Recent rainfall has been helpful, but we have to keep in mind that we’re assessing long-term conditions and will continue to monitor monthly reports. Every effort we make to conserve water will go a long way.”

Acting WRB General Manager Kathleen Crawley added, “Increased water demand can stress water supplies, resources and infrastructure. We want the public to continue to be aware that a number of water suppliers and communities have issued water restrictions and it’s important to adhere to those guidelines. Water conservation helps our water suppliers more easily manage peaks in demand, and it always helps to cut down on waste.”

WRB recommends taking steps to conserve water for indoor and outdoor use. Some examples include: • Don’t water during the hottest part of the day when most water evaporates (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.); • Try not to “over-water” your lawn- the average lawn needs 1 inch of water per week; • Sweep driveways, sidewalks and steps as opposed to spraying them down with a hose; • Use pool covers to reduce evaporation when the pool is not in use; and • Check load size when you’re washing laundry or dishes to ensure you are not using more water than needed. For more information on ways to conserve water in your home or business, visit the EPA’s WaterSense program page or go to WRB’s website