New Jersey enters drought watch due to lack of rain; water restrictions possible
It has been 20 years since New Jersey has put water restrictions into place to combat a drought, but the state took one step closer to this by issuing a drought watch Wednesday.
The watch is the first step toward a drought emergency. It is at that point that the state could step in and tell residents when and how to use excess water.
The excessive heat and a lack of rain are impacting New Jersey’s crops.
“We need rain. I haven’t seen it this dry in a long time,” says Vincent Serinese, of Timothy’s Center for Gardening.
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The Robbinsville business says that water is essential. It uses 5,000 gallons of water per day. A drought emergency would mean picking and choosing what plants they would keep alive to sell and which ones they would have to let die.
It would impact the bottom line of the business, which employs 22 people. The company says it is saving its runoff water to reuse.
Shawn LaTourette, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, says that residents do not need to call police on neighbors for excessive lawn watering. He suggests a different kind of strategy, like how the state deals with illegally idling cars.
"One of the best ways that we are able to address that risk to air pollution is by overcommunicating it and very importantly, telling our kids. Because you know who they are, they are good cops. And if you had 11-year-olds like I do, they would be all too eager to point out when you are wasting the water,” LaTourette says.
The state has not issued any water restrictions just yet. After a drought watch comes a drought warning and then a drought emergency.