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DEP Issues Water Supply Drought Watch

80aThe township is included in a wide swath of New Jersey that has been placed under a water supply drought watch by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The DEP is asking residents in the area affected by the watch – all or parts of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset and Union counties – to voluntarily limit the amount of public water they use.

The drought watch was caused by continued decline in rainfall that have decreased reservoir, ground water and streamflow levels, according to the release.

“We have been carefully tracking precipitation, stream flows, ground water and reservoir levels since the spring and over the course of the very dry summer,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said in the release. “While it is not uncommon to see reduced stream flows and ground water levels by the end of the summer season, we are beginning to observe signs of stress in our water supply indicators, and this warrants closer scrutiny and public cooperation.”

Some suggested water conservation tips include:

  • 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.
  • Avoid watering lawns and plants during the heat of the day, as this promotes evaporation and water waste.
  • Use a broom to sweep the sidewalk, rather than a hose.
  • 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.

While plentiful rains in June replenished reservoirs, stream flow and ground water sources, very dry, warm weather in July and August resulted in high water usage that has continued into September, according to the release.

If conditions remain warm and dry and water demands do not decrease, DEP will consider further regulatory actions, such as the designation of a drought warning, the release said. Under a drought warning, the DEP may order water purveyors to develop alternative sources of water or transfer of water between areas of New Jersey with relatively more water to those with less, according to the release.

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