Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee today has issued a statewide drought advisory, based on the recommendation of federal, state, and local experts that make up the state’s Drought Steering Committee. The Water Resources Board convenes the Drought Steering Committee when numerous water conditions indicate that the whole state may be entering an extended period of dry conditions, according to a press release from Governor McKee’s office.

Given the drought advisory, Governor McKee has also asked the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance to monitor its watering activities, including reducing optional water usage and ensuring all piping systems are optimally maintained.

“While our water supply is designed to withstand drought, Rhode Islanders should be aware of the current conditions,” said Governor McKee. “As a precaution, I encourage residents and businesses to consider taking water conservation measures.”

 Statewide recommendations are voluntary and include:

  • Watering lawns no more than is needed. The average lawn needs only one inch of water weekly. 
  • Avoiding watering during the warmest part of the day—10 a.m. and 2 p.m.—when water is more likely to evaporate.
  • Sweeping driveways and sidewalks rather than spraying them with a hose.
  • Matching your washing machine and dishwasher settings to the appropriate load size so you do not use more water than required.   

A statewide drought advisory is one of four progressive declarations that include advisory, watch, warning and emergency. To recommend a statewide drought advisory, three of the following four conditions must be met:

  • Precipitation: two months below 65% of normal rainfall
  • Ground Water: two out of three months below normal levels
  • Stream Flow: three consecutive months below normal
  • Palmer Drought Index: -2.0 to -2.99

At today’s meeting, it was determined that three indicators—ground water, stream flow and Palmer Drought Index—had been met. The last time the committee issued a statewide drought advisory was September 2020. That advisory was lifted in February 2021.

Water Resources Board Chair Susan Licardi discussed the outlook for the fourth indicator, precipitation, stating, “All regions were below 65% of normal rainfall in July, and the Climate Prediction Center calls for similar conditions in August.” She added that seasonal forecasts anticipate an improvement in drought conditions for September and October.

While conservation measures are not required statewide, individual water suppliers may have water restrictions in place. Residents are advised to check with their water supplier for further guidance. A list of major water suppliers to Rhode Island can be found on the Water Resources Board website at www.wrb.ri.gov/data_watersuppliers.html.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

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In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
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