PORTLAND — The Maine Public Utilities Commission has started looking into the impact of drought conditions that only continue to worsen on the state’s public drinking water systems.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the agency has formally requested input from 153 water utilities to gauge the severity of the problem.

The request follows a voluntary survey where 47 water districts reported that the surface and groundwater levels of their water supply sources were below the seasonal norm.

Officials say private wells were hardest hit by the drought. Those wells serve 44 percent of the state in mostly rural areas.

The agency is currently assessing whether Maine needs a statewide emergency water supply plan or if the measures being taken by individual water districts are up to par.

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