Sustainable Jersey, a certification program for municipalities in New Jersey that aims to preserve quality of life over the long term, will host a water conservation workshop in Egg Harbor Township on Thursday, Sept. 16, said Katie Barnett of the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection Division of Water Supply.
The workshop will focus on the implementation of the Water Conservation Ordinance, one of the program's priority actions, as well as conservation tips and tactics for township residents.
Despite the signs of security - such as 44 inches of rainfall per year - New Jersey is vulnerable to serious water supply shortages, in part because of its dense population, Barnett said.
"Most people focus on an area of difficult climate, such as Arizona or Florida, but even in areas where water seems abundant, like New Jersey, water conservation is important," she said.
Barnett said nearly 1 trillion gallons of water are used per year in the state, with the average resident using 100 gallons of water per day.
"The rain gives the impression that we are fine, but we're not," she said.
In 2007, Egg Harbor Township was one of five targeted municipalities within the state chosen to take part in a drinking water conservation pilot program known as Water Savers. Water Savers, a joint effort between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Water Resources and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2, took into account the demographics of the area and its needs for conservation.
Egg Harbor Township was chosen because of its once-agricultural turned suburban demographic, which brought in a large number of people in a short amount of time, Barnett said.
The first mission of Thursday's conservation workshop will be to urge municipal officials to implement the Water Conservation Ordinance. If the ordinance is enacted, residents would be restricted to watering lawns two times per week, the hours allotted for hand held or automatic systems would be set, watering any single area would be restricted to 30 minutes per day and no watering would be permitted when it is raining, Barnett said. As of now, this is just a recommendation. It is not enforced.
The second component of the workshop will be educating the public on the need to save.
Speaking at the workshop will be John Jones, a sixth-grade teacher from Alder Avenue Middle School and the leader behind the Catawba Project, a districtwide environmental education program and EHT's Project WET, a water education program.
Jones said he believes it is vital for residents to take their own initiatives to conserve water, despite the lack of enforcement.
"Our environment is delicate," he said. "The water supply is strained."
His advice is to get the younger township residents' involved in the movement.
"Utilize the kids as a resource. They will then educate their parents," Jones said. "It's amazing how willing children are to go out with a purpose."
Contact Elisa Lala:
If you go
What: Water Conservation Workshop
When: Sept. 16, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Alder Avenue Middle School, large board room, 25 Alder Ave., Egg Harbor Township
For more information and to preregister for the workshop, visit: http://sustainablejersey.com/events.php
Inside the Home:
Turn the water off while brushing your teeth (water/dollar savings = 11,680 gallons/ $75 per year for a family of four)
Only wash dishes when the dishwasher is full (water/dollar savings = 2,920 gallons/ $19 per year for a family of four)
Wash only full loads of clothing (savings = 10,534 gallons/ $68 per year for a family of four)
Upgrade to a high efficiency clothes washer (water/dollar savings = 14,585 gallons/ $94 per year for a family of four)
Outside the Home:
Only water when needed, New Jersey landscapes need approximately one inch of water per week (most of which often comes from natural rainfall.)
Water flowers with rain collected from your roof with a rain barrel connected to your gutter downspout
Use native plants that survive best in local conditions, and group plants together based on water need