The heat wave has broken in New Jersey, at least for the time being, but temperatures are still expected to reach the upper 80s and 90s for at least the next few weeks, and there is growing concern about the lack of rainfall in the Garden State.

In response, the Murphy administration is calling on all New Jerseyans to conserve water.

New Jersey state geologist Jeff Hoffman, who is also the head of Water Supply and Geoscience at the Department of Environmental Protection, said people should use water wisely.

“Only water your outside plants and lawns twice a week, please," he said. "Try to not waste water.”

“By reducing our water demands now we may be able to stave off mandatory restrictions.”

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The grass is brown, not dead

“All over New Jersey if you’re not watering your lawn it’s probably brown and dry now. That’s fine. That grass is not dead. It will come back when the rain returns.”

He said if you are watering your lawn only do it twice a week “for long times to make sure the water gets down to the deep roots, and at night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. to prevent excessive evaporation.”

Hoffman stressed while reservoir levels are going down, New Jersey is not facing a drought scenario yet.

However, he noted that even though water levels are considered OK today, things can change quickly.

“Another week or 2 of extremely hot very dry weather can make things drop fast, so we are watching the reservoir levels very closely," he said.

He noted farmers that have wells are using them to irrigate their crops.

In this photo taken Thursday, July 21, 2016, Peter Ellermann waters his garden at the Community Gardens in Concord, N.H. The summer drought has forced Ellermann to cart in 30 gallons of water in five fallen containers three times a week to keep his plants healthy. Parts of the Northeast are in the grips of a drought that has led to water restrictions, wrought havoc on gardens and raised concerns among farmers. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
(AP Photo/Jim Cole)
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Utilities ask for conservation

Late Tuesday afternoon, Trenton Water Works asked customers in its five-municipality service area to discontinue nonessential outdoor water use until further notice.

Mark Lavenberg, the director of the Trenton Department of Water and Sewer, which operates the utility, said “although TWW systems are operating normally, the heat wave has significantly increased water demand.”

Exceptions to this advisory include:

Watering of new sod or seed if daily watering is required.

Use of private wells for irrigation.

Commercial uses of outdoor water, such as for nurseries, farm stands, power washing, plumbing, athletic fields, and car washes.

Watering of athletic fields.

TWW's service area comprises Trenton, Ewing Township, parts of Hamilton Township, Lawrence Township and Hopewell Township.

We can get through this

“I understand it’s going to be hot and dry for another two weeks and I’m really hoping for more rain,” he said. “Everyone in DEP is hoping for more rain, but we can get through this by using water wisely, by not wasting it.”

DEP commissioner Shawn LaTourette said, “Now is the time for New Jersey to be especially mindful of water usage and proactively moderate our consumption.”

“Although our reservoirs and other indicators are healthy, persistent hot and dry weather coupled with the high water demands of summer can quickly impact water supply," he said. "Simple steps, like reducing lawn and landscape watering go a long way in preserving our water supplies and avoiding the necessity of significant restrictive measures.”

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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Beautiful sunflower fields to visit in NJ 2022

Among reasons why the “Garden State” remains a fitting nickname for New Jersey — late summer means the arrival of sunflower season.

There are at least six fields, spanning the state. Some are in bloom as of early August, while others are planned to peak from late August to late September.

Calling or emailing before heading out is always advisable if weather appears to be an issue. 

Beautiful sunflower fields to visit in NJ 2022

Among reasons why the “Garden State” remains a fitting nickname for New Jersey — late summer means the arrival of sunflower season.

There are at least six fields, spanning the state. Some are in bloom as of early August, while others are planned to peak from late August to late September.

Calling or emailing before heading out is always advisable if weather appears to be an issue.