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Private Wells Are Running Bone Dry In This State – But It’s Not Where You Think

Friday, September 30, 2016 7:37
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Private Wells Are Running Bone Dry In This State – And It’s Not Where You Think

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Some residents of one New England state are learning the hard way that water is a scarce resource.

Maine – and not the American West as might be expected — is experiencing an extreme drought that is causing wells used by homeowners to go dry.

Resident Bob Boynton had to use his neighbor’s garden hose to flush his toilet after his 14-foot well ran dry. It had been a reliable source of water for 25 years until it suddenly stopped in late September, Boynton said.

“I always thought it was going to last forever,” Boynton told The Morning Sentinel. “It really caught me off guard.”

Boynton was watering his lawn just days before the well ran out of water. He first noticed a problem when the sprinkler started spraying air instead of water.

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Like many of his neighbors in Standish, Maine, Boynton ended up calling a driller and paying for a new, deeper well. Families that cannot afford new wells are hauling water from public sources, eating instead of cooking and skipping showers.

Others are hiring water companies to fill their wells with water. Water company owner Warren Hood told The Morning Sentinel he receives up to 10 calls a day from households with no water.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen,” Hood said. “People are desperate.”

Across New England

A wide swath of New England, including Southern Maine, is now in the midst of an extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The rest of the region is experiencing a severe drought.

The drought is now so bad that the York Water District in southern Maine is piping in water from the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water District, The Morning Sentinel reported. York took that step after its reservoir dropped by four feet.

Rainfall in York County, Maine is 13.85 inches below normal, which is causing ponds and other bodies of water to dry up. The county normally receives 49.63 inches of precipitation a year, but only received 35.78 in the last year.

Around 44 percent of Maine residents rely on wells. Wells in Vermont and New Hampshire also have gone dry, the Associated Press reported.

“One of the common things we hear is that people have been in their homes for 20 to 30 years and they have never had their wells run dry,” Judy St. Onge, who delivers water for customers, told The Morning Sentinel.

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