Environment

Current Drought Conditions

As part of the Metropolitan Washington Water Supply and Drought Awareness Response Plan, COG issues monthly drought reports from May - October. COG also encourages wise water use throughout the entire year - visit the outreach and education website for water conservation tips.

Current Conditions - March 2017
NOAA has designated parts of the Potomac Basin in differing drought conditions. The February 28, 2017 NOAA Potomac Basin Drought Monitor Report designated areas as:

  • 36% is not dry
  • 35% is abnormally dry
  • 18% is in moderate drought status
  • 11% is in severe drought status

Driest conditions are primarily located in the District, Alexandria, and Montgomery, Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William Counties.  Abnormal dryness has the potential, depending on the amount of spring rains, to slow planting and growth of crops or pastures. 

Normal conditions are found in the upper Potomac Basin that feeds our drinking water supplies.  Stream and river flows are below average but are sufficient for normal drinking water withdrawals and flows needed to support environmental stream conditions. 

The drought designations are primarily due to lower than normal soil moisture levels.  Future, near-term rain amounts could affect agriculture and landscaping in localized areas.

Note that the latest seasonal drought outlook states that our region should be free of drought by May and all drinking water and water supply reservoirs are full.

COG will continue to track conditions and provide updates throughout the month.

Wise Water Use Tips for Outdoor Use - Lawn Care and Maintenance
Wise Water Use Tips 
Wise Water Use Landscaping and Watering Guide

Current Drought Monitor and Status Reports
Regional Drought and Water Supply Status Outlook
Note that the next Outlook will be issued in April 2017
COG's CAO Drought Primer 
ICPRB's Water Supply Outlook
US Drought Monitor 
Palmer Drought Index/Crop Moisture

Current River and Ground Water Conditions
Potomac River Flow at Little Falls
Potomac River Flow at Point of Rocks
Groundwater Levels for the Potomac River basin

Current Precipitation Information
Washington, DC, Reagan National Airport Precipitation 
Dulles Airport Precipitation 
Climate Prediction Center - Precipitation Outlooks 
National Weather Service Short Term Weather Forecast - Washington, DC 
National Weather Service Short Term Weather Forecast- Martinsburg, VA