For 40 years, Hampden resident Carol Keeney has relied solely on well water for her vegetation growth. She has never had a problem until now. This year, she has been forced to be more conservative when watering her crops. “Things are just marginal,” she said. “This drought has caused the quantity and quality of my crops to simply be just plain marginal.”
Keeney, 68, has been a Hampden, MA resident for 40 years and has been impacted by the recent and ongoing drought in Massachusetts. She relies on rain to keep her well filled enough to care for her family and vegetable growth. According to the United States Drought Monitors, more than a third of Massachusetts is experiencing “severe drought conditions” to include shrinking streams and rivers, wells going dry, water restrictions, and more. Residents are forced to cut back their water usage which makes growing healthy crops almost next to impossible. To say that crop growth has been marginal is an understatement; it is an eye opening crisis.
For Keeney, her eye opener was her wallet. The drought has caused her to replace her vegetation with store bought produce not knowing where it is coming from. She considers herself an organic and clean eater which for her means she prefers her food to not be sprayed with chemicals and pesticides. When asked how she felt about the cost of produce she has to replace, her response was easy. “Prices have inflated more than usual” she said. “Every week, I hope for rain just so I can save money and my crops would eventually stop suffering.”
At this point, the state has been put on high alert and provided water usage restrictions to towns and cities affected. New England is hoping for a strong winter to help balance out this seasons’ drought and allow wells to fill again and the rivers to grow once more. Drought monitors have shown the drought is severe and is only seemingly getting worse. Residents like Keeney have been much more conservative over the last several months. Keeney states that “it is what it is, and I have learned to accept this and hope for the best.”
Like Keeney and her family, many residents within Massachusetts and New England are hoping for relief and will hopefully see it once winter arrives. But for now, residents will have to continue being conservative consumers of water and ride out the drought.