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No mandatory water restrictions in N.J. despite ‘abnormally dry’ conditions

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New Jersey’s lingering heat wave, coupled with very little rain during the past four weeks, has created “abnormally dry” conditions in nearly half of the state, according to the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Just one week ago, only 19% of the Garden State was classified as abnormally dry, and that number has soared to 49% as of Thursday morning.

Despite the dry conditions and intense heat in the forecast for the next several days, there have been no mandatory water restrictions imposed in New Jersey. However, some utility companies are asking homeowners to be conservative.

New Jersey American Water Company is asking its customers to voluntarily conserve water during the current heat wave.

“While we recognize the necessity of water for landscaping and cooling off in the heat, we are urging customers to make wise water choices this season to help them save on their water bill and protect our precious water resources,” said Ben Morris, vice president of operations at New Jersey American Water.

The company offers detailed water conservation tips on its website.

One week ago, only 19% of New Jersey was classified as “abnormally dry,” but that number has soared to 49% as of Thursday, June 20, 2024.

The New Jersey Utilities Association recommends that residents and businesses in the Garden State “use energy and water efficiently while taking steps to stay safe and comfortable” during the heat wave.

“Heat, humidity and increased demand for electricity to power air conditioners can place stress on electric delivery equipment,” the association notes. “The heat also increases water usage and can stress water delivery systems as well.”

“While our utilities are ready for first heat wave of the year, it makes sense that residents and businesses do the right thing,” said Richard Henning, president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Utilities Association. “There is great potential to save energy and water, especially in peak hours, by doing laundry later in the evening or setting your thermostat a couple of degrees higher.”

Conservation tips

The NJUA offers the following tips to stay cool and conserve water and electricity during the heat wave:

  • Keep shades, blinds and curtains closed. About 40% of unwanted heat comes through windows.
  • Use fans strategically: Fans circulate air, creating a windchill effect. Position them to draw in cooler air or exhaust hot air.
  • Shorter showers: Reduce shower time and consider switching to cool showers. This saves water and reduces the energy needed for hot water heating.
  • Wash wisely: Run full loads of laundry and dishes, and at night whenever possible. This reduces the number of cycles needed and conserves water. Consider air-drying clothes instead of using the energy-intensive dryer.
  • Thermostat tweaks: Raise your thermostat setting a few degrees. Even a small increase can significantly reduce energy consumption while maintaining relative comfort.
  • Unplug the phantoms: Eliminate “phantom energy drain” by unplugging electronics and chargers when not in use. These devices continue to consume power even on standby mode.
  • Consider investing in a smart thermostat. These programmable devices allow you to adjust the temperature based on your daily routine and even weather conditions, optimizing energy usage.

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Len Melisurgo may be reached at or on X at @LensReality.

Read More: No mandatory water restrictions in N.J. despite ‘abnormally dry’ conditions

2024-06-20 14:11:00

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