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"As low as it gets": Statewide drought affecting Charles River

Statewide drought is affecting the Charles River
Statewide drought is affecting the Charles River 02:44

CAMBRIDGE - Fran Gardino loves to walk along and photograph the Charles River. He's been doing it for years. Right now, he can't believe he's standing in the middle of it.

"We are walking on the river. We could walk across it with the right boots," Gardino said. "Recently this is as low as it gets. If you come here normally the river is flowing rapidly down here. It's so strong you couldn't stand in here."

The significant lack of rain and hot temperatures has led to a statewide drought.

"Two of our regions in the northeast and central region are the level three drought. There are only four levels of drought. So, we are already at a level three in both these regions, so it's fairly dry," said Vandana Rao who is the Director of Water Policy for the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and chairs the state's Drought Management Task Force.

Grass, ponds, lakes, and rivers, everything is drying up.

"The stream flows are being highly impacted. We are seeing very low to almost record lows in some areas. Groundwater is starting to get impacted. Fire danger levels are rising up," said Rao.

"A third dry summer in a row is really testing our wildlife, our vegetation and a lot of it is dying off this summer," said Kathrine Lange of Mass Rivers Alliance.

Lange said a drought bill which is currently in the Senate Ways and Means Committee would scale up drought response and management. Right now, each town decides water restrictions during a drought. The bill would change that.

"This bill would make our drought management happen at a more regional level instead of a town-by-town patch work approach," Lange said.

Meanwhile Gardino continues to worry about the place he loves to come to and what it will look like if the drought continues.

"Very sad it's taken away our lifeline we need the water," said Gardino.

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