DROUGHT EMERGENCY LIFTED IN SOUTH
DEP RELAXES RESTRICTIONS FOR NORTH/CENTRAL
Christie Whitman today removed the Drought Emergency and mandatory restrictions
for eight South Jersey counties while the Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) relaxed restrictions for the rest of the state due
to substantial rainfalls and effective water conservation and management
September rains have sufficiently improved conditions
in South Jersey to allow that area to return to Drought Warning status
with voluntary conservation measures for the counties of Atlantic, Burlington,
Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean and Salem.
"We still need to conserve water as a precaution
but conditions have substantially improved, especially in parts of South
Jersey, thanks to several rainfalls this month and the conservation
efforts of residents and businesses," Whitman said. "In some
areas, local water use restrictions remain in effect and need to be
The relaxed restrictions allow some exceptions, primarily
for lawn watering and golf courses, for the 13 counties in North and
Central New Jersey - Bergen, Essex, Hunterdon, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex,
Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.
DEP Commissioner Bob Shinn commended the cooperative conservation
efforts of water suppliers, businesses and residents, which have helped
to enable the modifications.
"Today’s actions are the result of a combination
of factors including the post Labor Day reduced demands for outdoor
water use and cooler, seasonal temperatures, in addition to the replenishing
rains and conservation efforts," Shinn said.
At the time the Governor declared a Drought Emergency
on Aug. 5, many streamflows were at record lows following a long-term
rain deficit and the exceptionally hot, dry July.
Northeastern New Jersey averaged nearly five inches in
rainfall in August, which was about a half inch more than normal. This
month, the northeastern counties have already received nearly two inches,
which is almost half the normal rain for September.
DEP Deputy Commissioner Mark Smith, the state’s Drought
Coordinator, noted, however, that reservoirs are still low and caution
needs to be exercised. North Jersey reservoir levels have improved from
their lowest 12 percent below normal average on Aug. 26 to 11 percent
below normal today. Reservoir levels usually reach their lowest levels
in October and November.
The combined average is now 60.6 percent full for the
four major systems serving Northeastern New Jersey – United Water Co.,
Jersey City Water Dept., Newark Water Dept. and the North Jersey District
Water Supply Commission.
"But because the weather is cooler, usage is down
and rain is forecast, moderate relief from the restrictions is in order,"
Under the revised restrictions for northern New Jersey,
newly sodded grass, either commercially or privately, may be watered
every other day until Oct. 31 between 6 - 9 a.m. and 5 - 8 p.m. Watering
shall not exceed 20 minutes per area on any one day. Newly seeded grass
may be watered Wednesdays and Saturdays until Oct. 31 between 6-9 a.m.
and 5-8 p.m. Watering shall not exceed 20 minutes per area on any one
day. Watering is permitted following application of fertilizer, pesticide
or herbicide, for three days from the date of application between 6
– 9 a.m. and between 5 – 8 p.m. with watering not to exceed 20 minutes
per area on any one day.
Watering is permitted for the revegetation of land to
prevent soil erosion following earth moving activities in a "critical
area", as designated in a soil erosion control plan. Watering shall
be limited to 30 days from the date of planting with no more than 20
minutes of water to be applied per area on any one day.
The watering of vegetation such as plants, trees, shrubs,
vegetable and flower gardens, may now include low-pressure, perforated
soaker hoses or a zoned sprinkler system. This is in addition to the
previously allowed hand-held hose watering. Watering devices may operate
between 6 – 8 a.m. and between 5 – 8 p.m. with watering not exceeding
20 minutes per area watered on any one day.
Golf courses, which posses a valid DEP Water Allocation
Permit or Water Use Registration, may water newly seeded or sodded fairways
between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. no longer than 20 minutes for an area on any
one day. The golf courses may not exceed 35 percent of their permitted
average monthly demand.