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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
7/22/02
02/55

Contact: Elaine Makatura
(609) 292-9289

STATEWIDE DROUGHT EMERGENCY CONTINUES
WATER CONSERVATION IS A MUST

(02/55) TRENTON - Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell urges people to continue to curtail both indoor and outdoor water use. A lack of rainfall since the end of June has reservoir levels on the decline.

"Ground water levels are still low and recent heat and dry weather conditions have exacerbated low stream flow conditions, resulting in record low levels in the southern parts of the state," said Campbell. "Simply put: the drought is not over. We need rainfall throughout the rest of the summer and we need everyone to continue to conserve water."

Following June with above average rainfall statewide, the first three weeks of July have been dry. Even with last Friday's heavy rains in some parts of the state, totals for July are below normal throughout New Jersey. Under normal conditions, the state would have received, on average, almost four inches of rain for the first three weeks of this month. For example, rainfall within the Newark and Jersey City watersheds is less than one-half an inch for the month so far.

"Again, I want to thank water suppliers, gardening and lawn care experts and the general public who have all supported the department's initiatives by adhering to the current drought restrictions, and by getting the word out about proper water management practices," Campbell added. "However, New Jersey continues to experience significant water shortfalls despite our coordinated water conservation efforts. In addition to elevated temperatures and dry summer conditions, water demand is high as expected at this time of the year."

Forty-five percent of the streams monitored in New Jersey have stream flows below normal for this time of year, with lowest conditions in southern New Jersey.

The record low stream flows and groundwater levels in many parts of the state are causing local emergency conditions, as can be seen in the Brick Township - Point Pleasant systems.

More than 16,000 phone calls have been logged on the department's drought hotline and more than 3,500 e-mails have been received, with total drought web-site hits up to 261,200.

To get a copy of the current drought restrictions or to get tips about ways to conserve water, contact the DEP web site at www.njdrought.org or call the state's drought hotline at 1-800-448-7379.

 

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