TRENTON, NJ - In the face of a statewide drought emergency, state Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16th)  is urging New Jersey residents and state leaders to take action to prepare for the oncoming crisis.

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Bateman, a ranking member of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, has introduced a resolution calling for an updated version of the Statewide Water Supply Plan.

“Much of the state is under a drought warning and we have no way of knowing how long these conditions will last,” Bateman said. “The Statewide Water Supply Plan has not been publicly updated in 20 years. 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 have a true emergency on our hands.”

A drought emergency could have a significant financial impact on New Jersey consumers. During a drought emergency in 1985, water suppliers were given permission to issue a surcharge on water usage in excess of 50 gallons a day per person. A drought watch or warning is in effect in all but three New Jersey counties, with reservoirs falling nearly 20 percent below normal levels. New Jersey has not issued a drought warning in 15 years.

“Water reservoirs are drying up fast and the rain we had last week doesn’t come close to alleviating this dangerous situation,” Bateman added. “New Jersey also has serious water infrastructure issues that are undoubtedly contributing to the drought. Until we get a new state water management plan in place, we all should do everything possible in our homes to conserve water. Every little bit helps.”

Bateman urged all residents to consider the NJ DEP’s suggestions for conserving water:

Install water-saving showerheads and faucet aerators in the bathroom and kitchen (available at most home improvement stores and some supermarkets);

Do not let faucets run when brushing your teeth or washing the dishes;

Run washing machines and dishwashers only when they are full, or select the properly sized wash cycle for the current laundry load;

Use a broom to sweep the sidewalk, rather than a hose;

Use mulch and native plants to conserve water in the garden;

Use a rain barrel to capture water from a downspout to use later for watering gardens and plants.