After the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) declared a statewide drought watch on Aug. 9, the Camden County Board of Commissioners and the Office of Sustainability are urging residents to conserve water.
“As these dry conditions continue throughout the state and here in Camden County, we’re strongly encouraging our residents and businesses to conserve water when they can,” said Commissioner Jon Young, liaison to the Office of Sustainability. “The state’s water supply is already under stress due to the lack of rainfall and conserving water can help us avoid more serious and restrictive drought conditions.”
New Jersey has a three-stage drought advisory system where a drought watch is the first level. Under a drought watch, conservation is encouraged but if conditions don’t improve, the state could enact mandatory conservations efforts.
“All the signs are there that the water table has dropped significantly over the last two months combined with the successive heat waves our region has experienced this summer,” Young continued. “These tips are good proactive steps to conserve water and if followed will insulate us against severe drought conditions.”
NJ DEP has recommended taking the following steps to conserve water:
- Water flowers and landscaping with water harvested in a rain barrel connected to a downspout
- Use 30 to 50 percent less water with drip irrigation and micro-sprays compared to sprinklers
- Only water when needed, in NJ most landscapes need only one inch of water per week. This often comes from dew and rainfall.
- If you have a pool, purchase a water saving filter.
- Cover your pool when not in use to reduce evaporation rates.
- Avoid recreational toys that require a constant stream of water
- Raise your lawnmower blade to at least 3 inches to promote deeper grass roots which hold water better
- Use water from dehumidifiers and air conditioners to water your plants
- Use native plants that need less water
- Group plants together based on water needs.
Summertime means swimming pools, sprinkler jumping and barbecues surrounded by manicured landscapes. During the summer months, while water supplies are typically declining, water usage is increasing. In fact, water usage from winter to summer increases by approximately 30 percent. However, we can all do our part to reduce water usage by following these ten simple steps.
The most up-to-date information about the status of New Jersey’s water supplies can be found at dep.nj.gov/drought.
For more water conservation tips, go to: dep.nj.gov/conserve-water/