UNION, NJ – Residents in Northeast, Central and Coastal North Jersey are being urged to voluntarily conserve water due to the continued dry weather and above-average temperatures.  The Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner, Bob Martin, issued a drought watch for these areas and urged residents in the rest of the state to practice wise water use.

The drought watch is prompted by continued rainfall deficits that have decreased reservoir, ground water and streamflow levels in these three regions.  The watch seeks voluntary cooperation to preserve existing supplies.  The three affected drought regions include all or part of 12 counties, including Union County. 

“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,” Commissioner Martin said. “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.”

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“We are asking residents to be aware of the situation and use water more carefully and deliberatively, especially when it comes to lawn watering and other non-essential uses. The goal is to moderate water demand through voluntary conservation.”  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.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is projecting above-average temperatures and dry weather to continue through October.

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. 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.

“We advocate for conservation of water at all times. But responsible water use at this time is especially important. We ask that residents take voluntary steps such as limiting lawn and landscaping watering, and cutting back on water-related chores at home, such as car washing. This could save millions of gallons of water daily,” said Dan Kennedy, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Water Resources Management.