TRENTON, NJ - Following recent reports that New Jersey’s drought is still in effect despite a winter full of precipitation and foul weather, Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman again called for the state’s residents and leaders to do whatever they can to help conserve water.

“Most of the state just spent the last week digging out of a big snowstorm, and the rest was no stranger to wet storms this winter, but it still doesn’t look like this drought is going anywhere anytime soon,” said Bateman (R-Mercer, Somerset, Middlesex, Hunterdon). “We all need to make an effort to conserve water and implement a statewide plan to address this drought.”

As the state’s drought was beginning to become severe at the end of 2016, Bateman introduced a resolution urging the DEP to update the Statewide Water Supply Plan. Having an updated plan would allow officials to put new strategies in place in order to address a potential crisis, according to Bateman. The resolution was passed by the New Jersey Senate in January.

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According to the New Jersey DEP, 14 of the state’s 21 counties, including Somerset County, are under a drought warning, and four others are under a drought watch. Although no mandatory restrictions are in place, the DEP is still urging residents to conserve as much water as possible by doing things such as, not leaving the faucet running while doing dishes, or only running the washing machine when it has a full load.

“This plan has not been updated in more than 20 years, and our demand for water, as well as our water infrastructure has changed dramatically since then,”  Bateman said. “Until the report is released, it will be nearly impossible to implement strategies to address this potential drought crisis. The state must work quickly to enact a plan before we’re right back to where we started last year.”