NJ drought easing just in time for peak water demand
A flurry of late winter snowfalls, combined with soaking rains in recent weeks, has helped replenish the reservoirs and restore groundwater levels, which gets rivers flowing again.
But in recent weeks, the jet stream shifted, with a southerly dip over the eastern United States.
“This has been the very recipe one would prescribe to bring ample moisture to the region,” he said.
As a result, the Passaic River at Little Falls is running at nearly three times the historical average for this time of year.
Flood stage for the Passaic at Little Falls is 7 feet.
Similarly, the Ramapo River at Pompton Lakes is flowing at more than double its typical level for this time of year, while last fall it was at 79 percent below the historical average.
Over the fall and winter, the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission, which operates the Wanaque Reservoir, operated its two pumping stations to start replenishing the reservoir system.
Similarly, in October the Oradell and two other reservoirs along the Hackensack River operated by Suez, which provide water for 800,000 people in Bergen and Hudson counties, were down to a combined 44 percent of capacity.
It was New Jersey’s first drought warning since 2001.
“We continue to evaluate the indicators,” he said, “and will have a much better picture on whether to lift the warning and watch statuses currently in effect when we review the indicators early next week.” Drought recedes -Wanaque and Oradell Reservoirs had been as low as 45 percent of capacity last fall, but are nearly full now.