DEP asks residents to conserve water with New Jersey in drought watch
New Jersey is in a drought watch due to a lack of rain over the last several weeks. The watch comes with a request from the state Department of Environmental Protection to conserve water.
Parts of the Manasquan Reservoir that should be underwater are now dry. The drought has exposed areas of land that are not normally seen.
“It’s a beautiful hidden gem of Monmouth County,” says Matt Ruding of the Manasquan Reservoir.
Ruding is an assistant superintendent in the Monmouth County Park System – the body that checks the water level of the reservoir daily.
“The water level, in my opinion, is probably 4 to 5 feet lower than normal,” Ruding says. “As soon as you see those timbers that normally aren’t there, that’s when you know the water level is going down.”
Ruding says the 4 billion-gallon reservoir is likely going down to 75% capacity due to the drought. It’s something regulars who walk, kayak or visit the reservoir have noticed.
“Normally when you come here, there’s no sand at all. But recently there’s a lot more,” says Tiffany Ragusa.
But the state DEP says it is concerned. Data shows groundwater levels along the coast are severely dry, while some reservoirs are showing a serious loss of water.
A National Drought Mitigation Center map shows that New Jersey is not alone. Parts of the West and Southwest are in extreme drought. The map shows that New Jersey is in abnormally dry conditions.
The DEP says that 30% of water use in the summer is for outdoor purposes – watering that could be pulled back.
While swimming is not allowed at the Manasquan Reservoir, kayaking and fishing is allowed. Right now, all programs at the reservoir are still being offered. But if the water gets too shallow, some activities will need to be canceled.