McGreevey declared a statewide water emergency on Monday, March
4, 2002. Today, Commissioner Campbell announced 'region specific'
water use restrictions
for 2001 rainfall was below normal for 10 out of 12 months,
and has averaged 13.7 inches below normal since June 2001. 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. Bergen,
Hudson, and Passaic Counties declared water emergencies the
week of February 18, 2002. Morris County declared an emergency
on February 27, 2002.
"drought watch" had been issued for all of New Jersey
on October 30, 2001. A "drought warning" had been
issued for New Jersey's Northwest, Southwest, and Coastal South
Drought Regions on November 21, 2001. 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. With the
continued insufficiency of precipitation, and with reservoir
levels in the Northeast and Coastal North Drought Regions being
significantly below normal, Commissioner Campbell expanded New
Jersey's Drought Warning on January 24, 2002 to include the
Northeast and Coastal North Drought Regions. Since this time
storage in the Northeast reservoirs has continue to decline,
while storage in the Coastal North reservoirs has improved.
The Central Drought Region remains near normal with reservoir
levels only 9.9 % below normal.
Jersey's Northeast, Central and Coastal North Drought Regions
rely heavily upon reservoirs for water supply, but also utilize
wells in various formations as does the Northwest region. The
Coastal South Drought Region relies heavily on shallow wells
for individual domestic water supply wells, and has wells in
confined aquifers for many municipal water systems. The Southwestern
Drought Region relies upon a mixture on surface water, shallow
and confined wells. Click on "Drought
Regions" for additional information.
Jersey's Northwest and Southwest Drought Regions lie within
the Delaware River Basin. The Delaware River Basin encompasses
portions of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) declared a "drought
warning" on November 4, 2001, and put its Drought Operating
Plan into effect on December 1, 2001. On December 18, 2001 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), and the target flow at
Trenton has been reduced from 2700 cfs. For specifics regarding
these reductions please refer to the Delaware River Basin Commission
WebPages at www.state.nj.us/drbc/.
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.
State now has drought restrictions in place, but continues to
stress that indoor water conservation efforts are necessary
in order to reduce demands. Due to the random nature of precipitation
in the past 9 months localized areas may be experiencing some
more severe water supply problems. Please contact your local
municipality or water company concerning any local water use
restrictions that may be in place.
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.
Past Drought Updates