Story: Press Release
TRENTON, NJ -
Today, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin placed 14 counties in Northern, Central, and Northern Coastal NJ under a drought warning due to ongoing precipitation deficits and deteriorating water-supply conditions, particularly storage levels in reservoirs.
The goal of the drought warning is to preserve and balance available water supplies in an effort to avert more serious water shortages in the future. The warning also elevates the need for residents and businesses in impacted counties to reduce their water use.
“The situation in our reservoir systems that serve some of the most densely populated regions of New Jersey is becoming more critical, with some systems dropping to half their capacity or less,” Commissioner Martin said. “Without knowing how much precipitation we are going to get over the fall and winter to replenish our water sources, it is vital that every resident and business step up efforts to voluntarily reduce water use in the hopes of averting a water emergency and mandatory restrictions.”
A drought watch calling for voluntary water conservation remains in effect for Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties. The designation of a watch formally urges residents of these counties to voluntarily conserve water.
The only counties not under a warning or watch are Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland, which have received near or above-normal rainfall over the past several months.
The decision to designate a drought warning comes a day after the DEP held a hearing to update water suppliers and the public. The warning is the first since November 2001, which subsequently became an emergency that was phased in by regions as drought conditions worsened. The emergency was phased out over the latter half of 2002 into early 2003.
The Administrative Order signed by Commissioner Martin establishes a formal process for the DEP to work with water suppliers in affected regions to ensure no single water supplier or region faces a significant shortfall should dry weather and high customer demand continue.
The southwestern part of the state – Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties – relies primarily on groundwater. Precipitation in this part of the state is rated as moderately dry while stream flows and groundwater are rated as severely dry.
The DEP offers the following tips to reduce water use:
For more state water supply status information and to view the Administrative Order, visit: www.njdrought.org
For more detailed information on water conservation technologies and interesting facts, visit:
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