New Jersey officials are asking residents to conserve water, with several counties experiencing drought conditions.
The state Department of Environmental Protection says drinking water supplies remain healthy, but that could change as hot and dry weather continues.
“Now is the time for New Jersey to be especially mindful of water usage and proactively moderate our consumption,” Shawn M. LaTourette, the commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, said in an announcement earlier this week.
The National Drought Mitigation Center lists most of Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset and Union as experiencing "moderate drought" conditions. Parts of Essex and Hudson counties are listed as well. The center's scale also allows for more serious ratings of "severe drought," "extreme drought" and "exceptional drought," but no parts of New Jersey have yet been classified with those designations.
Large parts of the remainder of the state are considered "abnormally dry," the lowest level of intensity on the center's scale other than "none."
Earlier this month, New Jersey issued mandatory outdoor usage restrictions in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. It's asking customers to stick to an odd-even day schedule — customers with odd-numbered addresses can use water outside on odd dates (like July 29) and customers with even-numbered houses can use water on even dates (like July 30). The company allows exceptions in cases where watering new sod or seed daily is required, for the use of private wells, for commercial uses of outdoor waters and for watering of athletic fields.
Several other water companies are asking their customers to voluntarily restrict water use.