NJ drought: Residents, businesses urged to save water amid stress on water supply

Residents and businesses in the state of New Jersey are being urged to conserve water as the state deals with a drought caused by days of extreme heat. 

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection announced the statewide drought on Tuesday in a Facebook post. 

"We urge residents and businesses to conserve water as persistent dry and hot conditions continue to stress water supplies throughout the state," the agency wrote on Facebook. "These measures can help avoid more serious and restrictive drought conditions." 

To save water inside the home, the agency recommends taking five-minute showers, turning the water off while brushing your teeth, running the washing machine and dishwasher only when it's full and taking care of household leaks. 


According to the National Integrated Drought Information System, the drought concerns are not just isolated to New Jersey. 

The weather agency says 234.3 million acres of crops in the United States are experiencing drought conditions this week 

Dan O'Pella, of Haddonfield, New Jersey, says he has given up on striving for green grass this summer.

"My back lawn right now, when you walk on it, it's like snap, crackle and pop," said O'Pella. "The grass just breaks under your feet. We actually have a sprinkler system, and we haven’t used it because there's just no point."

Not using your sprinklers is exactly the kind of thing that NJ DEP officials want everyone to do as they are urging people to only water their lawns and gardens when necessary. They also say that limiting your shower time, turning off the faucet while you're brushing your teeth, and upgrading your appliances to high efficiency models are all ways that you can preserve water supplies.

The Kielt family, also of Haddonfield, thinks these are all reasonable things to ask as they have watched the extreme heat torture their vegetation. Stephanie Kielt says she's just happy it's not a "full-on restriction" right now.  

The last drought watch or warning to be declared in New Jersey was in 2016 and the last drought emergency with water use restrictions was in 2002. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.