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New Jersey Drought Information
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NJ Drought Hotline: 1-800-4-ITS-DRY
Outside New Jersey Please Call: 1-609-633-0560
 
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Drought Update: 01/25/2002

Statewide for 2001 rainfall has been below normal for 10 out of 12 months, averaging 9.5 inches below normal for the year. This has resulted in dry conditions, which show up as reduced stream flows, lower lake levels, and declines in ground water levels. These conditions are also prevalent throughout the region.

On December 4th and 5th the State held Drought Hearings to solicit input on the severity of the situation, its impact upon water supplies, and on available options that may be used to avert a water emergency. In order to reduce the likelihood of a water emergency, designation of a drought warning condition may become necessary and appropriate to exercise the Department's non-emergency powers. Under these powers the Department may order, if necessary any or all of the following: development of an alternate water supply where possible; rehabilitation and activation of interconnections between water supply systems; completion of interconnection flow tests; the transfer of water from any system; and other modifications of measures deemed appropriate to insure and adequate water supply.

With the continued insufficiency of precipitation, and with reservoir levels in the Northeast and South Coastal Drought Regions being 37 % and 24 % below normal respectively, Acting Commissioner Bradley Campbell has expanded New Jersey's Drought Warning to include the Northeast and Coastal North Drought Regions. On November 21, 2001 a "drought warning" had been issued for New Jersey's Northwest, Southwest, and Coastal South Drought Regions. A "drought watch" had been issued for all of New Jersey on October 30, 2001. New Jersey's Northwest and Southwest Drought Regions lie within the Delaware River Basin. Its Coastal South Drought Region relies heavily on shallow wells for water supply. The Central Drought Region remains in drought watch with reservoir levels only 8 % below normal. Click on "Drought Regions" for additional information.

The Delaware River Basin encompasses portions of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) had declared a "drought warning" on November 4, 2001. On December 1, 2001 the DRBC's Drought Operating Plan was put into effect. At the DRBC's December 18, 2001 meeting/hearing at the Commission office in West Trenton the DRBC declared a drought emergency. In a drought emergency under the Drought Operating Plan, New Jersey's allowable diversion through the D & R Canal has been reduced from 70 million gallons per day (mgd) to 65 mgd, and the allowable average New York City diversion has been reduced from 560 mgd to 520 mgd. The target flow in the Delaware River at Montague has been reduced from 1550 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 1350 cfs, and the target flow at Trenton has been reduced from 2700 cfs to 2500 cfs. Conservation releases from the major Delaware River Basin reservoirs have been reduced, and Merrill Creek Reservoir is releasing water to make up for consumptive use of water by power generation plants within the basin.

Currently the State has no drought restrictions in place, but water conservation is strongly encouraged. Due to the random nature of precipitation in the past 7 months localized areas may be experiencing some water supply problems. Please contact your local municipality or water company concerning any local water use restrictions that may be in place.

This message will be change periodically as conditions warrant. For additional information please refer to www.state.nj.us/dep/watersupply. The website also links to the U.S.G.S., New Jersey District web page for stream flow and ground water levels. For additional information on the Delaware River Basin Commission please refer to www.state.nj.us/drbc/.

Past Drought Updates

   
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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2003
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: January 9, 2003