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State of New Jersey
Office of the Governor
Trenton NJ 08625-0001




Contact: Micah Rasmussen
(609) 777-2600

Announces Greater Protection of Metedeconk River and Lifts Drought Emergency

(BRICK TOWNSHIP) – Ending New Jersey’s ten-month drought emergency, Governor McGreevey today reaffirmed his commitment to protect New Jersey’s waterways and drinking water supplies and announced plans to increase protection of the Metedeconk River, a key drinking water supply in the State’s shore region.

“Today I am lifting New Jersey’s statewide drought emergency, but while the short-term crisis is over, the long-term threat still remains,” said Governor McGreevey. “I am asking all New Jerseyans to join me in the battle to protect our waterways, to end crisis-to-crisis management of our most precious resource, and to stop the overdevelopment and sprawl that threaten to destroy both our water supplies and our quality of life.”

Joined by Senator Andrew Ciesla, Brick Township Mayor Joseph Scarpelli, Environmental Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell and other local and environmental leaders, Governor McGreevey announced that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will work with mayors from the communities within the Metedeconk watershed to identify sections of the river for Category One (C1) designation – the highest level of water quality protection. C1 designation protects waterways from any discharge that produces a measurable change in the existing quality of the water.

“I applaud Governor McGreevey and Commissioner Campbell for their efforts to protect our state’s watersheds and their vital ecosystems,” said Mayor Scarpelli. “Since it serves as the source of 75% of our drinking water, I am extremely pleased that the Metedeconk River will gain C1 status.”

“The Metedeconk River, a vital drinking water source for many families, will be the 23 rd body of water that my administration proposes for increased protection,” said McGreevey, “but we are only beginning our battle to protect New Jersey’s air, water and quality of life against sprawl.”

“By stopping sprawl on the Metedeconk River, we protect a major drinking water supply for future generations. This is just the latest demonstration of the Governor’s commitment to smart growth – and we know there is more to come,” said Amy Goldsmith, State Director of New Jersey Environmental Federation.

"Under the Governor's direction, the DEP is setting tougher standards to protect New Jersey' s waterways - particularly those that provide our families with drinking water," said DEP Commissioner Campbell. “The Metedeconk River represents an exceptional water supply and will be critical to meeting the area’s water supply demands in the future.”

The Metedeconk River serves as a drinking water source for more than 100,000 residents and will serve significantly more people in the coming years. In addition to meeting current water supply needs, the Metedeconk River will support a new billion-gallon reservoir to meet anticipated future water demands in Brick Township and surrounding communities. The completion of the reservoir is scheduled for early 2004.

The specific boundaries of the C1 designation will be achieved by determining how best to ensure a safe and plentiful drinking water source and allow for smart growth within the affected towns.

Last March, the Governor declared New Jersey to be in a statewide drought emergency as the state ended the driest six-month period since 1895. Over the last ten months, New Jersey continued to experience some of the most erratic precipitation patterns in history with groundwater levels reaching record lows.

The recent, abnormally high rainfall has replenished New Jersey’s surface waters and increased groundwater levels. However, groundwater levels in the sourthern part of the state remain below normal. Approximately half of New Jersey’s drinking water comes from groundwater.

New Jersey coastal south and southwest drought regions will be placed under a drought warning and DEP will maintain the authority to manage water resources in the interest of the public.

For more information on New Jersey’s current reservoir and groundwater levels, please visit the DEP drought website at The updated administrative order regarding the end of the drought emergency is available online.


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Last Updated: July 14, 2010