RESIDENTS URGED TO VOLUNTARILY CONSERVE WATER DURING DRY SPELL
(10/P63) TRENTON -Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin today asked residents to voluntarily conserve water due to a persistent dry spell and extremely hot weather, key factors that are beginning to affect water supplies statewide.
The DEP is not issuing a formal drought warning at this time but is asking state residents to be aware of the situation and use water more carefully, especially when it comes to lawn watering and other unessential uses. The goal is to moderate water demand through voluntary conservation.
The current conditions are starting to offset plentiful water reserves generated by a wet winter and spring. While reservoir levels are still relatively high, current summer water demand combined with weather factors are starting to have an impact. Residents are being asked to use water wisely and efficiently, particularly as outdoor consumption increases due to lawn and landscape irrigation, agricultural needs and other outdoor water use activities.
“We are in good shape to deal with the immediate situation when it comes to our water,” said Commissioner Martin. “Our reservoirs are relatively full. We are certainly not in any trouble now when it comes to water supply. But it could slip and change very quickly, especially considering the current weather pattern. Right now, the short-term forecast is for continued hot and dry conditions, so we are asking everyone to pitch in and conserve water.”
Using water responsibly by voluntarily taking steps such as reducing lawn and landscaping water, limiting car washing, and turning off the tap while brushing teeth, could save millions of gallons of water daily, say DEP officials.
Upgrades in water system interconnections and infrastructure that have been done statewide in recent years have improved the ability of water purveyors to share supplies, which will make it easier to get water to needy areas should this be necessary, said Commissioner Martin.
The recurrent snow and rain of the winter and spring have been replaced by an extended dry spell in recent weeks. Patchy thunderstorms have scattered rainfall over some areas of the state while leaving others areas quite dry, a fairly common weather pattern for summer in New Jersey.
Precipitation levels are now considered moderately dry throughout the state, while ground water levels currently register as moderately or severely dry in all but the coastal south region, where ground water is in the normal range. Stream flow levels in the northern half of the state have dropped to moderately dry, while they remain at normal levels in the south.
Statewide, reservoirs have begun to decline due to sparse rainfall and high demand. High water demand already has led to some restrictions in Monmouth County and a request for voluntary conservation in parts of Ocean County.
Here are some suggested water conservation tips:
- Do not over-water lawns and landscaping. Two times per week for 30 minutes in morning or late evening typically is sufficient. Use a hose with a hand-held nozzle to water flowers and shrubs.
- To save water at home, fix leaky faucets and pipes.
- Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth and shaving.
- Run washing machines and dishwashers only when full.
- Install high-efficiency, water saving toilets, faucets and shower heads.
More information on water conservation and water supply status can be found at www.njdrought.org/ideas.html and www.njdrought.org/status.html