August 9, 2022
New Jersey Environmental Protection Commissioner Sean M. Latourette has issued a statewide drought alert as of Aug. 9, and the Murphy administration is urging residents and businesses to conserve water as persistently dry and hot conditions continue to strain water supplies across the state.
The drought watch declaration is the first in the state’s three-tiered advisory system. The watch is designed to increase public awareness and understanding of the stress on water supplies and to encourage voluntary water conservation measures. If conditions do not improve, a drought warning or emergency may need to be declared with mandatory water restrictions. Voluntary conservation measures during the monitoring phase can help avoid more severe and limiting drought conditions.
“Stream flow and groundwater levels are below normal for much of the state, and some reservoirs are showing steep declines as hot, dry conditions persist,” said Commissioner Latourette. “While water conservation is always important, it becomes critical during extended dry and hot periods like New Jersey’s. If residents and businesses do what they can to reduce water demand, together we can ensure sufficient supplies in the coming weeks and months.”
At this time of year, more than 30% of water needs in suburban areas are outdoor needs, much of which can be reduced or avoided. The community can make a big difference by cutting down on watering lawns and landscaping, cutting back on car washes, and cutting back on non-essential uses like watering driveways and sidewalks. Residents and businesses can also take many conservation measures to reduce indoor water use. For more tips on saving water, visit https://dep.nj.gov/conserve-water/.
As explained in the New Jersey Climate Change Science Report, first published in July 2020, while New Jersey will experience more frequent heavy rains, the summer months may see a decrease in precipitation, leading to a greater potential for more frequent and prolonged droughts.
The most up-to-date information on the state of New Jersey’s water supply can be found at dep.nj.gov/drought. The last time a drought watch or warning was issued for New Jersey was in 2016. The last drought emergency with mandatory water restrictions was declared in 2002.
DEP continues to closely monitor drought indicators, which include precipitation, streamflow, reservoir levels, groundwater levels, and water demand. It will continue to inform the public, local authorities and water systems about future actions to reduce the risk of more severe conditions.
DEP has prepared a water conservation toolkit dep.nj.gov/conserve-water/toolkit which includes infographics, flyers, videos and social media resources that can be downloaded and used by organizations and government agencies to disseminate information about drought conditions and water conservation.
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