Increased water use because of the heat wave has prompted New Jersey American Water to request customers in five more counties to conserve water effective immediately.

The utility made the request of customers in Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties to go onto an odd/even schedule for outdoor watering.

The utility earlier made the request of its customers in Monmouth and Ocean counties on Friday. On Thursday, the utility said the water conservation effort would be mandatory for Monmouth and Ocean.

There's been a steep increase in demand this week as temperatures have been in the 80s and 90s. Starting conservation measures now will help avoid problems later, according to Tom Shroba, vice president of operations at New Jersey American Water.

"Adopting an odd/even schedule for outdoor watering will have minimal impacts on the individual customer but will provide a significant relief in demand on our source of supply," Shroba said in a statement.

Exceptions to the request are:

  • Watering of new sod or seed if daily watering is required (Note: it is recommended that any planting of new sod or seed that has not already taken place be delayed until the fall)
  • Use of private wells for irrigation
  • Commercial uses of outdoor water, such as for nurseries, farm stands, power washing, plumbing, athletic fields, and car washes
  • Watering of athletic fields
U.S. Drought Monitor 7/14/22
U.S. Drought Monitor 7/14/22 (NOAA)

Drought coming?

New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said that the high temperatures and humidity will create a stifling Heat Index of 100-105 on Thursday.

Part of the area included in the request is considered to be abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor issued nearly a week ago. No area of New Jersey is considered to be in a drought yet. An updated report is scheduled to be released Thursday.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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