DEP lifts drought warning for Hunterdon and Somerset counties
DEP lifts drought warning for Hunterdon and Somerset counties.
"I’d like to thank the residents of the entire state for their patience and cooperation in dealing with this year-long drought condition," said Commissioner Martin.
A drought warning represents a non-emergency phase of managing available water supplies during the developing stages of drought, and falls between the watch and emergency levels of drought response.
The aim of a drought watch is to avert a more serious water shortage that would necessitate declaration of a water emergency and the imposition of mandatory water use restrictions, bans on water use, or other potentially drastic measures, according to the DEP.
Under a drought warning, the commissioner of the DEP may order water purveyors to develop alternative sources of water or transfer water between areas of the state with relatively more water to those with less.
More consistent rainfall in the fall and winter of 2016-17 has generally improved water supply conditions throughout New Jersey.
Based on this improvement, a regional drought watch/warning was lifted on April 12 for all but the two central New Jersey counties where the recovery has been slower, according to the DEP.
A combination of reservoir storage at Round Valley and Spruce Run, which was below the long-term average and severely dry and shallow ground water levels led to extended scrutiny of this area.
However, in recent weeks, the cumulative effects of greater precipitation has reversed last year’s trends.
Now, the combined total storage capacity of the two central region reservoirs, Round Valley and Spruce Run, has recovered by more than 21 percentage points (from a low of 59.7 percent on November 28, 2016 to the current combined total of 81.03 percent), which is only approximately 10 percentage points below average for this time of year, according to the DEP.