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Drought level moves from severe to moderate

Ken Pysher (left) and Greg Toner have provided latest well reading information from the USGS.

Ken Pysher (left) and Greg Toner have provided latest well reading information from the USGS.

There’s a bit of good news for the Island from the latest reports out of Albany. The severe drought condition that has persisted for months and wasn’t expected to break at least until the end of January has changed.
The Island has moved from a severe drought level to an improved moderate drought, according to Ken Pysher and Greg Toner of the Water Advisory Committee.

But before you think the worst is over, with the easing of the drought comes an extension of the period until the end of February before the Island might see its drought condition lifted, according to information furnished by the National Integrated Drought Information System.

That suggests Islanders should maintain voluntary water conservation measures, Mr. Pysher and Mr. Toner said.

As for specific water level readings at test wells monitored for the town by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), there are some anomalies for November.

The Goat Hill well’s reading is only 7.7 percent higher than its historic November low.

The Menantic well is almost a half foot lower than it has ever been since monitoring started. The USGS has advised the committee to await December readings that might help to identify the reasons, the men said.

Among the possibilities are:

• An error in measurement since a new person was assigned to do the November readings

• A result of extremely low tides because of strong northwest winds a few days before measurements were taken

• The possibility that someone is pumping a high water load from that area

• A disruption in the aquifer.

Readings in December should provide a guide for what’s going on and what action might be needed.

While 12 of the 13 test wells are below their November historic averages, in most cases the drop is less than 20 percent.

Only the Menantic test well is reading at 50 percent below its historic average, the men said.

As for individual well readings, the values are similar to those provided in October, they said.

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