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RELEASE: 3/11/02

CONTACT: Elaine Makatura 609-341-3824
Rachel Hamilton 609-292-2994

DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell Orders Mandatory Water-Use Restrictions

Department Working with Diverse Group of Stakeholders and Seeking Public Input to Plan for Current Crisis and Better Long-Term Management of the State's Water Resources

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 11, 2002

(02/13) Trenton, NJ -- New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today set forth statewide, mandatory water-use restrictions in an effort to avert more severe limits on water consumption in the coming months. Through the signing of an Administrative Order, which takes effective immediately, Campbell has called for broad-based restrictions and participation, calling on all New Jerseyans to help address the state's severe drought conditions.

"We've had the driest six-month period in New Jersey since 1895," said Commissioner Campbell, adding that, "all of us must do our part to eliminate water waste and reduce our water uses. The drought restrictions I established today are a necessary step to sustain the water resources we currently have, to prepare for a continued lack of rain and to protect New Jersey's economic health."

Governor James E. McGreevey issued an Executive Order on March 4 declaring a water emergency in the State of New Jersey and authorizing Commissioner Campbell to develop mandatory restrictions and conservation measures tailored to the six drought regions of the State. This is the earliest time of the year that a New Jersey Governor has declared a statewide water emergency.

Due to the severity of continuing drought conditions, which are occurring in the entire Northeast of the country, all New Jersey residents and visitors, businesses and government agencies must fully comply in this cooperative effort. State agencies and departments are being asked to lead the way by identifying and implementing conservation measures above and beyond what is being asked of the public in reducing water consumption.

Generally, all restrictions apply statewide with some exemptions for the Central and Coastal North drought regions. Effective statewide, washing paved surfaces such as streets, sidewalks and patios with water is prohibited. Water may not be served in restaurants, clubs or other eating establishments unless it is specifically requested by the patron. Other restrictions include washing of vehicles and boats and non-commercial power washing buildings and other surfaces. Throughout the Order, several common-sense exemptions are provided to avoid hardship and minimize impacts on New Jersey's economy. For example, vehicles may be washed by commercial car washes that use specific waste-minimization measures or use recycled water.

There are widespread restrictions on the watering of lawns. However, there are some exemptions that apply to the maintenance of newly laid sod or seeded grass, to commercial landscapers and to the entire Central and Coastal North regions. Allowances are also made for the watering of trees, shrubs and vegetable or flower gardens.

Governor McGreevey has asked Commissioner Campbell to establish, for the first time, an external task force of stakeholders who can provide input and offer information and guidance on the drought. Campbell has already met with this developing group, which represents a wide range of interests and expertise. Their input was used to develop the Order issued today with an aim towards balancing the diverse needs of the State's water resources.

The DEP will hold a series of workshops and information sessions for all New Jerseyans in each of the State's six regions - the specifics of which will be announced shortly. These sessions will provide the public the opportunity to contribute to decisions made regarding the drought as well as help the Department with updating the Statewide Water Management Plan.

"We need to address the short-term situation, but look at the long-term as well," said Campbell, adding, "I think it is important to understand, as we undertake this emergency contingency planning, that we need to be better prepared for this type of crisis in the future. No one can control the rain, but we need to re-think the way we manage the State's water resources if we are to support the ecological future and economic growth that our communities want and that our State needs."

Commissioner Campbell also reactivated the Water Emergency Task Force. This Task Force is comprised of Cabinet members or their designates and besides serving an advisory role to the Commissioner, they also hear appeals on hardship exemptions. In addition, the Commissioner has named Dennis Hart the State's Drought Coordinator. Hart will also assume the role as the Department's Water Supply Program Administrator.

The DEP operates a hotline at 1 800 4 ITS DRY (1 800 448 7379) for individuals and businesses who have questions about restrictions; or fax the DEP at 609 633 1495. And visit the DEP web site http:// for up-to-date information on the drought, including reservoir levels, current rainfall statistics and water conservation practices.

The attached fact sheet (below) outlines some of the Order's restrictions and general provisions, as well as alternative water sources the Department may seek to use.

Fact Sheet


  • Serving of water in public eating establishments is prohibited, unless requested.
  • Washing of any vehicles, other than emergency vehicles, is prohibited.
  • Commercial car washing establishments can operate under certain criteria.
  • Car dealerships can wash vehicles under certain criteria.
  • Washing boats at dealerships and marinas is permitted under certain criteria.
  • Washing paved surfaces is prohibited unless necessary to protect human health or for sanitary purposes.
  • Flushing sewers with potable water is prohibited with limited exceptions.
  • Use of fire hydrants is prohibited unless fighting fires in the interest of public safety or with written permission from water purveyors.
  • Only commercial power washing is permitted with established limits.
  • Ornamental outdoor water use is prohibited except for wildlife or sanitary purposes.
  • Lawn watering is prohibited except in the central and coastal north where an odd-even system is allowed. New sod or newly seeded lawn associated with new construction is allowed under certain criteria.
  • Watering of vegetation is allowed under certain criteria. Watering of trees, shrubs, vegetable or flower gardens is permitted using odd-even watering system in central and coastal north. Re-vegetation of disturbed areas to prevent soil erosion is permitted under certain criteria.
  • Watering of athletic fields is permitted under certain criteria using odd-even water system in central and coastal north.
  • Watering for agricultural purposes is permitted with limitations.
  • Water used for outdoor recreational purposes is prohibited except for golf courses and tennis courts under certain criteria.
  • Filling of public and private swimming pools, hot tubs, spas and jacuzzis is prohibited with limited exceptions. Topping of pools is permitted.


  • Public and commercial establishments with showers must retrofit showerheads for low flow.
  • All open burning is prohibited.
  • Aquifer pumping tests are prohibited with certain exceptions.
  • Each state agency shall develop a water conservation plan.
  • Major water users (more than 200,000 gpd) must develop contingency plans for further reductions.


Municipal and county law enforcement agencies, as well as state law enforcement agencies, are all being asked to enforce the restrictions. Sanctions, including fines can be imposed.


  • The use of non-potable water (treated effluent) is authorized for certain activities providing public health and safety criteria is met.
  • Transfers of water from Lake Hopatcong and Lake Wawayanda are being explored.

For more detailed exceptions and exemptions, as well as tips for water conservation go to or call 1 800 4 ITS DRY.



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