The Department of Environmental Protection is urging Union County residents to voluntarily conserve water and for the rest of the state to practice wise water use due to continued dry weather that is impacting levels in reservoirs, lakes, rivers and streams as well as shallow ground water sources.
Some suggested water conservation tips include:
-- Do not over-water lawns and landscaping. Two times per week for 30 minutes in the 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, since much of this water will evaporate without helping the lawn
-- 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
Precipitation deficits over the past 90 days are as much as 40 percent below average in many parts of northern New Jersey. Reservoirs are the primary source of drinking water in the Northeast Region, with a total of 12 reservoirs and a combined capacity of 70.6 billion gallons. While combined reservoir storage throughout the region remains relatively good, some are showing declines that are steeper than the long-term summertime averages due to lack of rainfall and increased demand.
The drought watch affects the Northeast, Northwest, and Central regions and includes all of Bergen, Essex, Hunterdon, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties.
If conditions remain warm and dry and water demands do not decrease, the DEP will consider further regulatory actions, such as the designation of a drought warning. Under a drought warning, the DEP may order water suppliers to develop alternative sources of water or transfers of water between areas of New Jersey with relatively more water to those with less.
For more state water supply status information, visit http://www.njdrought.org/status.html and for more information on water conservation, visit http://www.njdrought.org/ideas.html.