Drought: The Basics


Maine traditionally has had few drought concerns as we are a water rich state. Regional water shortages, or a water shortage that affects a home or neighborhood, are not uncommon.

Droughts occur about every 20 years with severe 3–5 year droughts occurring about every 40 years. A serious drought affected Maine in 2001 through 2003.

A little over half of Maine people are served by a water district. The rest have private wells. Wells that are dug are especially vulnerable to water shortages. Drilled wells are less vulnerable because they reach down into the bedrock where water levels do not change quickly. However, a severe drought over a long period of time can affect the water available in drilled wells.

In a local water shortage or long drought, take steps to conserve water in your home, make sure your water is safe, and protect your water system:

Stay tuned to news, and any special information put out by your water utility, or by the town or state about water supply, and drinking water safety

If you get your water from a water utility:

  • If your water utility asks you to save water, always do so.
  • Conserve water in your daily routine. This does not include cutting back on drinking water. Drinking sufficient water is important for your health.
  • Check your home for leaks (your utility can help you with this)

Remember, you can save money and help the environment by sensible water use at any time. See our Sensible Water Use Tips for more information.

If you have a private well:

  • Make sure you have a safe source of sufficient drinking water for your family
  • Protect your well and pump: If your water level is low, you don’t want to damage your system by running the well dry. Spread out your water usage by timing showers, laundry, and other usages of large amounts of water. Conserve water in your daily routine. See our Sensible Water Use Tips for details.
  • DO NOT have water dumped in your well. This is a serious health risk, and a waste of money, as most of it will drain away.

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