for 2001 rainfall was below normal for 10 out of 12 months,
averaging 12.5 inches below normal since June 2001. This has
resulted in dry conditions, which show up as reduced stream
flows, lower lake levels, and declines in ground water levels.
These conditions are also prevalent throughout the region. Bergen,
Hudson, and Passaic Counties declared water emergencies the
week of February 18, 2002, and at this time New Jersey is making
preparations for a declaration of emergency in the drought regions
where it is warranted. Under an emergency restrictions on adjustable
water uses can be imposed to reduce water usage.
"drought watch" had been issued for all of New Jersey
on October 30, 2001. A "drought warning" had been
issued for New Jersey's Northwest, Southwest, and Coastal South
Drought Regions on November 21, 2001. On December 4th and 5th
the State held Drought Hearings to solicit input on the severity
of the situation, its impact upon water supplies, and on available
options that may be used to avert a water emergency. With the
continued insufficiency of precipitation, and with reservoir
levels in the Northeast and South Coastal Drought Regions being
37 % and 24 % below normal respectively, Acting Commissioner
Bradley Campbell expanded New Jersey's Drought Warning on January
24, 2002 to include the Northeast and Coastal North Drought
Regions. Since this time storage in the Northeast reservoirs
has continue to decline, while storage in the Coastal North
reservoirs has improved. The Central Drought Region remains
in drought watch with reservoir levels only 7.5 % below normal.
Jersey's Northeast, Central and Coastal North Drought Regions
rely heavily upon reservoirs for water supply, but also utilize
wells in various formations as does the Northwest region. The
Coastal South Drought Region relies heavily on shallow wells
for individual domestic water supply wells, and has wells in
confined aquifers for many municipal water systems. The Southwestern
Drought Region relies upon a mixture on surface water, shallow
and confined wells. Click on "Drought
Regions" for additional information.
Jersey's Northwest and Southwest Drought Regions lie within
the Delaware River Basin. The Delaware River Basin encompasses
portions of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) declared a "drought
warning" on November 4, 2001, and put its Drought Operating
Plan into effect on December 1, 2001. On December 18, 2001 the
DRBC declared a drought emergency. In a drought emergency under
the Drought Operating Plan, New Jersey's allowable diversion
through the D & R Canal has been reduced from 70 million
gallons per day (mgd) to 65 mgd, and the allowable average New
York City diversion has been reduced from 560 mgd to 520 mgd.
The target flow in the Delaware River at Montague has been reduced
from 1550 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 1350 cfs, and the target
flow at Trenton has been reduced from 2700 cfs to 2500 cfs.
Conservation releases from the major Delaware River Basin reservoirs
have been reduced, and Merrill Creek Reservoir is releasing
water to make up for consumptive use of water by power generation
plants within the basin.
the State has no drought restrictions in place, but water conservation
is strongly encouraged. Bergen, Hudson, and Passaic Counties
have mandatory water use restrictions in place. Due to the random
nature of precipitation in the past 9 months localized areas
may be experiencing some water supply problems. Please contact
your local municipality or water company concerning any local
water use restrictions that may be in place.
message will be change periodically as conditions warrant. For
additional information please refer to www.state.nj.us/dep/watersupply.
The website also links to the U.S.G.S., New Jersey District
web page for stream flow and ground water levels. For additional
information on the Delaware River Basin Commission please refer
Past Drought Updates