A drought is a long period of dry weather that can cause serious problems for the local water supply. When the water supply reaches watch or above, the Governor may ask residents to take voluntary or mandatory water conservation measures.
We are each other’s best line of defense in a weather emergency! If drought warnings are in effect check on your neighbors.
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Governors Water Supply Status and Actions
- Normal: Routine monitoring of water supply and meteorological indicators. All conditions normal.
- Watch: Focus placed on voluntary reductions in demand through increased public awareness.
- Warning: DEP Commissioner issues order urging public to voluntarily use water sparingly; DEP may issue orders to purveyors to manage supplies in most affected regions.
- Emergency: Governor orders mandatory restrictions on certain uses of water, usually phased in as conditions deteriorate.
Prepare for Drought
The best way to prepare for a drought is to conserve water and make conserving water a part of your daily life. Check out the tips below to assist you in your water conservation efforts!
Indoor Water Conservation Tips
- Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it. For example, use it to water your indoor plants or garden.
- Fix dripping faucets by replacing washers. One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water a year.
- Check all plumbing for leaks and have any leaks repaired by a plumber.
- Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors.
- Install an instant hot water heater on your sink.
- Insulate your water pipes to reduce heat loss and prevent them from breaking.
- Install a water-softening system only when the minerals in the water would damage your pipes. Turn the softener off while on vacation.
- Choose appliances that are more energy and water efficient.
Outdoor Water Conservation Tips
- If you have a well pump, check it periodically. If the automatic pump turns on and off while water is not being used, you have a leak.
- Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Once established, your plants won't need as much watering. Group plants together based on similar water needs.
- Don't install ornamental water features (such as fountains) unless they use re-circulated water.
- Consider rainwater harvesting where practical.
- Contact your local water provider for information and assistance.
- Position sprinklers so water lands on the lawn and shrubs and not on paved areas.
- Repair sprinklers that spray a fine mist.
- Check sprinkler systems and timing devices regularly to be sure they operate properly.
- Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches or to its highest level. A higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper and holds soil moisture.
- Plant drought-resistant lawn seed. Reduce or eliminate lawn areas that are not used frequently.
- Don't over-fertilize your lawn. Applying fertilizer increases the need for water. Apply fertilizers that contain slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
- Choose a water-efficient irrigation system such as drip irrigation for your trees, shrubs and flowers.
- Water manually in fall and winter only if needed.
- Use mulch around trees and plants to retain moisture in the soil. Mulch also helps control weeds that compete with plants for water.
- Invest in a weather-based irrigation controller—or a smart controller. These devices will automatically adjust the watering time and frequency based on soil moisture, rain, wind, and evaporation and transpiration rates. Check with your local water agency to see if there is a rebate available for the purchase of a smart controller.
- Consider purchasing a low-volume toilet that uses less than half the water of older models.
- Install a toilet displacement device to cut down on the amount of water needed to flush. Place a one-gallon plastic jug of water into the tank to displace toilet flow. Make sure it does not interfere with the operating parts.
- Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version.
- Instead of using the garbage disposal, throw food in the garbage or start a compost pile to dispose it.
All plans or recommendations contained herein are flexible and subject to change, based on the nature of the emergency. It is always important to follow the official guidance or orders of state, county and local officials at the time of an emergency.