WEST ORANGE, NJ — Residents throughout Essex County have been asked to conserve water and to reduce lawn watering following a Drought Watch issued by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.

The Drought Watch for the state’s Northeast region includes West Orange and all of Essex County.

According to a release, the Drought Watch designation was prompted by a prolonged precipitation deficit (lack of rain) and degraded drinking water supply indicators, including stream flows and shallow ground water levels. A continuation of this weather pattern without substantial rainfall threatens to impair the replenishment of reservoirs, stream flows, and ground water.

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It did not help the situation when a water main broke on Church and S. Park St. on Tuesday afternoon, wasting heavy flows of water all along the business area.

NJDEP officials state that water consumption is higher tham usual and that the extremely dry, warm weather pattern continues to drive up water demands.

The Drought Watch is not mandatory, but voluntary with a plea to the public to conserve water outdoors for activities such as lawn and landscape watering and other water-dependent activities around the home.

For water-saving tips and water conservation information, please contact Montclair’s office of Environmental Affairs at 973-509-5721, or, email grussell@montclairnjusa.org.

More drought-related information, including responses to Frequently Asked Questions, is also available at: www.NJDROUGHT.org.