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Contact: Elaine Makatura

Extremely Dry Conditions Persist

(02/73) Trenton, NJ---Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced a statewide ban on outdoor water use including lawn watering and washing of vehicles at residences, effective immediately. Limited outdoor water use is allowed for watering of trees, plant beddings and newly laid sod associated with new construction.

"August 2002 is shaping up as the driest August on record, making eight of the last twelve months the dries t ever recorded in New Jersey history," said Bradley Campbell. "The new restrictions outlined today emphasize the urgency to cut back on water use to ensure we have the water supplies necessary to last throughout the remaining summer months. With current water demand at its highest peak and water supplies declining every day, we have to act immediately and aggressively."

The new restrictions are not limited to water use around the home. They also require all non-agricultural commercial water systems using more than 100,000 gallons per day to submit to the department no later than September 10, 2002 their previously required water use reduction contingency plans for 10 to 50 percent reductions.

In addition, by September 30, the water suppliers must outline and submit to the department any adverse economic impacts resulting from the implementation of a 20 percent water use reduction.

These precautionary measures allow the department to evaluate the plans in order to make a sound judgement in case the reduction plans need to be implemented in the future.

On Friday, Campbell re-issued a letter to local enforcement authorities emphasizing the drought emergency status and the importance to enforce the drought restrictions. Penalties may include fines of $1,000 or imprisonment.

"All indicators are showing very low stream-flows, groundwater levels dropping everywhere and a steady decline in reservoir levels," Campbell added. "Extraordinary events call for extraordinary actions. I want New Jersey residents and businesses to understand that we are taking these measures to get a handle on water management for future months."

Watering of vegetation other than lawns will continue on an odd-even basis with some exceptions. In all instances the amount of water used should be the minimum amount necessary. Serving of water in restaurants, unless requested, continues to be prohibited.

Only commercial car washing businesses that use recycled water can be used for washing vehicles. Power washing of homes or other buildings is prohibited unless it is performed by a commercial power washing business with some exceptions.

Golf courses cannot exceed 80 percent of the permissible monthly water use under their water allocation permit or 80 percent of the monthly water contracted from a purveyor. The industry must also continue to water according to Best Management Practices for Golf Courses.

Outdoor use of water for ornamental or aesthetic purposes, including fountains, waterfalls and reflecting pools continues to be prohibited.

On August 8, Campbell banned all open burning with the exception of barbecues and permits authorized for religious ceremonies. Today's order also allows open burning to safely dispose of explosives.

To view a copy of the Administrative Order issued today, contact the department's web site at If you have questions about the restrictions, call 1-800-448-7379.



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