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MA River Levels Reach Near-Record Low Flows

The Westfield River in Massachusetts is reduced to nearly a trickle in 2022.

Not that you haven’t noticed… According to the National Weather Service’s Northeast River Forecast Center, most of the rivers and streams in central and eastern Massachusetts were “flowing in the lowest 10th percentile of all recorded observations” as of midsummer.

The Charles River in Dover, MA, for example, came close to breaking a record for low flow. The flow at one point was 10 cubic feet per second, whereas the lowest flow for that part of the Charles was 9.3 cubic feet per second, recorded over 84 years ago.

In early July, the Neponset River, another eastern urban waterway, was at about twice the lowest flow ever recorded (the summer drought of 2016 was worse).

“In 2016, in 2020, and now in 2022, this is at least the third year, if not more, out of the last 10, where we’ve seen pretty significant rainfall deficits during the summer months,” said David Boutt, a hydrogeology professor at UMass Amherst, in a Channel 10 Boston interview on August 3.


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