- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire officials are urging residents to conserve water in drought areas.

A severe drought has hit the southern part of the state, and northern New Hampshire is abnormally dry, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Resources says.

State Climatologist Mary Stampone doesn’t see any relief in the near future, and says drought conditions will likely persist into the fall.

Over 100 public water systems in the state have implemented outdoor water-use restrictions or bans. Counties under severe drought include Belknap, Cheshire, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford and Sullivan. The agency recommends that residents in Grafton, Carroll and Coos counties limit outdoor watering to every other day and water only between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m.

If areas without restrictions, the department urges residents to refrain from using water outdoors except for hand watering of vegetable gardens.

The agency said the last significant drought the state had was between 2001 and 2003. Since then, changes have been made to help lessen drought conditions, such as creating backup water supplies, emergency interconnections with other water supplies, and legislation allowing communities to quickly implement lawn watering bans on public and private supplies.

“For now, the best we can do is limit our use to essentials and let the lawn go dormant until rainier days come,” said Stacey Herbold of the agency’s Water Conservation Program.

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