for 2001 rainfall has been below normal for 8 out of 11 months,
and is only near average for December. 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.
to the continuing lack of precipitation, record low stream flows,
declines in ground water levels, and low water levels in the
Delaware River Basin reservoirs, State Environmental Protection
Commissioner Bob Shinn issued a "drought warning"
for New Jersey's Northwest, Southwest, and Coastal South Drought
Regions, on November 21, 2001. Previously, on October 30, 2001,
Commissioner Shinn had issued a "drought watch" for
all of New Jersey. The Delaware River Basin Commission had declared
a "drought warning" on November 4, 2001.
Delaware River Basin encompasses portions of New Jersey, New
York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. 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 and lacks the water supply infrastructure prevalent
with the Northeast, Central and Coastal North Drought Regions,
which remain in drought watch. Click on "Drought
Regions" for additional information.
December 1, 2001 the DRBC's Drought Operating Plan was put into
effect. On December 13, 2001 combined storage in the Delaware
River Basin Reservoirs (Pepacton, Neversink, Cannonsville) was
41.8 percent below normal. 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. The DRBC has scheduled an Emergency Hearing for December
18, 2001 at the Commission office in West Trenton.
Currently the State has no drought restrictions in place, but
water conservation is strongly encouraged. Due to the random
nature of rainfall the past 6 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.
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
Past Drought Updates