Task Force Says Drought is Serious, Not Critical

03/29/02 12:00AM



(Host) Vermont's Drought Task Force met Thursday to go over the latest information on the impact of a yearlong spell of dry weather. Duncan Higgins of the state's Emergency Management Office says there are currently 35,000 people in Vermont affected by water outages and shortages due to the drought.

Higgins says a representative of the National Weather Service told the task force that despite this week's storms, there's no break predicted in the pattern of dry weather. Higgins says the situation is serious, but not critical:

(Higgins) "I don't know that there's a sense it's going to get worse. I think there's a sense that the situation won't improve without some rainfall, but there are measures that we can take, at least this summer, that will help alleviate it for us."

(Host) Higgins says measures include making money available to people who need new wells. Currently, there are federal programs to help farmers, seniors and low income Vermonters. In addition to the impact on water supplies, the drought also poses a danger to Vermont's forests. Higgins says Forest Service officials are preparing for the possibility of a high fire danger this spring.

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