STATEWIDE DROUGHT EMERGENCY
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
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.