Delaware • New Jersey • Pennsylvania
New York • United States of America
For Immediate Release
November 1, 2010
(WEST TRENTON, N.J.) -- The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) announced that it has terminated the lower basin drought warning for the portion of the watershed downstream from Montague, N.J.
“The lower basin drought warning in effect since Sept. 24 automatically ended Oct. 31 because Beltzville and Blue Marsh reservoirs exceeded their drought warning storage levels for 30 consecutive days,” DRBC Executive Director Carol R. Collier said.
Storage in these two lower basin reservoirs rebounded during October, especially following the heavy rainfall that impacted the basin during the last week of September when many areas received three-to seven-inches of rain with locally higher amounts of eight-to ten-inches.
The persistent dry weather conditions over the summer resulted in the DRBC directing releases from the Beltzville and Blue Marsh reservoirs, owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), to meet the flow objective at Trenton, N.J. Additional releases to meet the Trenton flow objective were directed from Cannonsville Reservoir, owned and operated by the City of New York, located on the West Branch Delaware River. The Trenton flow objective was established to provide protection from salinity intrusion, which has the potential to affect the drinking water supplies for Philadelphia and portions of southwestern New Jersey served by New Jersey American Water. The directed releases reduced the amount of water in the two USACE lower basin reservoirs to levels that automatically triggered the lower basin drought warning declaration by DRBC on Sept. 24.
With the termination of the lower basin drought warning and resumption of normal operations, the Trenton flow objective is once again 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) and New Jersey’s diversion of water from the Delaware River near Bull’s Island through the Delaware and Raritan Canal may be increased to 100 million gallons per day (mgd). During the lower basin drought warning, the Trenton flow objective and New Jersey diversion were reduced to 2,500 cfs and 85 mgd, respectively.
“Although we are no longer in a lower basin drought warning, DRBC still encourages the wise use of water by our basin industries, businesses, and citizens,” Collier said. “Water conservation should be practiced all of the time, and not be limited to dry periods.”
Beltzville Reservoir is located on Pohopoco Creek, a Lehigh River tributary, in Carbon County, Pa., and Blue Marsh Reservoir is located on the Tulpehocken Creek, a tributary to the Schuylkill River, in Berks County, Pa. The DRBC pays the USACE for reservoir storage to be used for directed releases during dry conditions from its Water Supply Storage Facilities Fund. In addition to flow augmentation, these two reservoirs are used for flood control and recreation.
The DRBC is a federal/interstate government agency responsible for managing the water resources within the 13,539 square-mile Delaware River Basin. The five commission members are the governors of the basin states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the Division Engineer of the USACE North Atlantic Division, who represents the federal government.