Regardless of last evening’s heavy rainfall, the state Department of Environmental Protection has issued a drought watch in 12 of the state’s northern and central counties. They are Bergen, Essex, Hunterdon, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren.
A drought watch is not a drought warning — which would call for mandatory restriction of water usage. A drought watch is meant to raise public awareness and seek volunteer cooperation to preserve existing water supplies. The state recommends watering lawns only twice a week in the morning or late evening and using a hand-held hose to water shrubs and and flowers. Other recommendations are to run washing machines and dishwashers only when full and to fix leaky faucets and pipes.
Precipitation deficits over the past three months are as much as 40 percent below average in north Jersey and 25 percent in Central Jersey. More information on the water supply status is available online.