Drought Update: 11/21/2001

Statewide for 2001 rainfall has been below normal for 7 out of 10 months, and is far below the average for November. This has resulted in dry conditions, which show up as reduced stream flows, lower lake levels, and declines in ground water levels. These conditions are also prevalent throughout the region.

Due to the continuing lack of precipitation, record low stream flows, declines in ground water levels, and low water levels in the Delaware River Basin reservoirs, State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn issued a “drought warning” for New Jersey’s Northwest, Southwest, and Coastal South Drought Regions, on November 21, 2001. On November 21, 2001 combined storage in the Delaware River Basin Reservoirs (Pepacton, Neversink, Cannonsville) was 32.7 percent below normal.

Previously, on October 30, 2001, Commissioner Shinn had issued a “drought watch” for all of New Jersey. On November 4, 2001 the Delaware River Basin Commission went into Drought Warning. The Delaware River Basin encompasses portions of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

New Jersey’s Northwest and Southwest Drought Regions lie within the Delaware River Basin. Its Coastal South Drought Region relies heavily on shallow wells for water supply and lacks the water supply infrastructure prevalent with the Northeast, Central and Coastal North Drought Regions. New Jersey’s Northeast, Central and Coastal North Drought Regions are still in drought watch. Clink on “Drought Regions” for additional information.

Under the Drought Warning issued by the DRBC, New Jersey’s allowable diversion through the D & R Canal has been reduced from 100 million gallons per day (mgd) to 70 mgd, and the allowable average New York City diversion has been reduced from 680 mgd to 560 mgd. The target flow in the Delaware River at Montague has been reduced from 1655 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 1550 cfs, while the target flow at Trenton remains at 2700 cfs. Conservation releases from the major Delaware River Basin reservoirs have been reduced, and Merrill Creek Reservoir is making water releases to make up for consumptive use of water by power generation plants within the basin.

Currently the State has no drought restrictions in place, but water conservation is strongly encouraged. Due to the random nature of rainfall the past 5 months localized areas may be experiencing some water supply problems. Please contact your local municipality or water company concerning any local water use restrictions that may be in place.

This message will be change periodically as conditions warrant. For additional information please refer to www.state.nj.us/dep/watersupply. The website also links to the U.S.G.S., New Jersey District web page for stream flow and ground water levels. For additional information on the Delaware River Basin Commission please refer to www.state.nj.us/drbc/.

Past Drought Updates