Streams

New Jersey Under Drought Watch

Thursday, September 09, 2010

New Jersey's Department of Environmental Conservation has put the entire state under a drought watch. Spokesman Larry Ragonese says it's not an emergency. But the department is requesting that residents and businesses voluntarily cut their water use.

"The spicket is not going dry, but the levels are down," Ragonese said. "Cut demand and that should be able to get us through until we get some adequate rain."

Ragonese says the state has suffered one of its driest and hottest summers on record. The DEP is urging residents to conserve by turning off faucets that aren't in use, cutting back on watering their lawns, and only running their washing machines when they're full.

But Jeff Tittle, from the grassroots organization Sierra Club, says those measures aren't enough.

"The shape of the water supply in New Jersey right now is that we need to have mandatory restrictions in place," he said. "Reservoirs are dropping, we have wells that are hitting historic lows as far as water in the aquifers."

Ragonese says the DEC scientists are closely monitoring conditions, and there's no need -- at this point -- to upgrade the draught watch.

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