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Well level trend improves; drought persists

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.

The Island isn’t out of the woods yet when it comes to the drought, but the latest well water readings show improvement.
The word came from Water Advisory Committee members Greg Toner and Ken Pysher who compile and analyze the data provided by the United States Geological Survey.

Drought conditions remain moderate, and the trend on well levels has shown improvement, with some at or slightly above their median height, according to the report.

But while the drought forecast has improved for the past two months, the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) has extended its prediction that the drought couldextend until the end of March before it improves.

The entire state had been under a severe drought condition through the summer and now a large area west and north of Shelter Island has been changed to “persists, but improved” and “drought removal likely.”

Nonetheless, well readings here in December were generally better than their historic December numbers.

Because one of the four major wells used to reflect trends was frozen shut, there was little basis for comparison between November and December readings for tat well. But the majority of wells appear to be in better condition, Mr. Toner and Mr. Pysher said.

“The well height results indicate a stable and improving condition of the aquifer” compared with numbers for November, the men said in their written report. While all wells are still below their historical December readings, the difference is less than 15 percent for any of them. And while three wells dropped in height, nine increased.

A question in November about the Menantic well showing a lower value than others appears to have been resolved with a December increase, suggesting that the previous condition was temporary.

The Goat Hill test well remains at a “very low level” compared with its historical numbers. The latest reading shows it at just 1 percent higher than its lowest historical reading.