Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin issued a drought watch for New Jersey’s Northeast, Central, and Coastal North water supply regions, urging residents in the affected areas to voluntarily conserve water and for the rest of the state to practice wise water use due to continued dry weather and above-average temperatures.
The drought watch is prompted by continued rainfall deficits that have decreased reservoir, ground water and stream flow levels in the three regions. The purpose of the watch is to raise public awareness, formally alert all water suppliers in the region of the situation, and to seek voluntary cooperation to preserve existing supplies in the affected regions, with water demand still high.
The three affected drought regions include all or parts of 12 counties, including Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic and Somerset. The goal is to moderate water demand through voluntary conservation. Some suggested water conservation tips include:
• Do not over-water lawns and landscaping. Two times per week for 30 minutes in morning or late evening typically is sufficient. Use a hose with a hand-held nozzle to water flowers and shrubs.
• Avoid watering lawns and plants during the heat of the day, as this promotes evaporation and water waste.
• Use a broom to sweep the sidewalk, rather than a hose.
• To save water at home, fix leaky faucets and pipes.
• Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth and shaving.
• Run washing machines and dishwashers only when full.
The DEP has observed significant reservoir level declines in some water systems, particularly United Water New Jersey’s Oradell reservoir system in Bergen County. While measurable
rainfall during the second week of September provided some temporary relief, it did not appreciably improve the water supply situation in the three drought regions. Additionally, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is projecting above-average temperatures and dry weather to continue through October.
For more state water supply status information, visit: www.njdrought.org/status.html.
For more information on water conservation, visit: www.njdrought.org/ideas.html