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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: 10/30/01
01/130

CONTACT: Loretta O'Donnell or Amy Collings
(609) 984-1795 or 609-292-2994

RESERVOIR & STREAM LEVELS DECLINE; WATER CONSERVATION URGED

State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn today issued a "drought watch" for all of New Jersey due to declining water levels in reservoirs monitored by the Delaware River Basin Commission, and declining stream flows. The declaration calls upon residents to voluntarily conserve water.

"It is always prudent to use water wisely, but as rainfall continues to be scarce, there is a greater necessity to conserve," said Shinn.

Storage in the New York City Delaware River Basin has dropped from 52.1 percent of capacity in early October to 39.3 percent as of last Friday. At this time last year, the storage capacity was 85.5 percent.

Groundwater levels in New Jersey also have been declining and many streams are approaching, or are at, record low stream flow levels.

"The drought watch does not mean mandatory restrictions are imminent, but we are at a stage where voluntary conservation is very important," said Shinn.

A drought watch is the first of three possible drought stages. If capacity levels drop significantly, a drought warning would be declared, and if levels worsen, a drought emergency would follow. Only the latter would require mandatory water use restrictions.

The 13 major reservoirs serving northeastern New Jersey are about 10 percent below normal.

For information on ways to reduce water bills and increase water conservation, visit www.njdrought.org. The website also links to the U.S. Geological Survey's New Jersey district web page for stream flow and ground water levels.

 

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