Possible Statewide Drought Emergency Could Lead to Higher Water Bills in New Jersey | NBC 10 Philadelphia

Possible Statewide Drought Emergency Could Lead to Higher Water Bills in New Jersey

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    New Jersey residents may face higher water bills and potential fines from the state Department of Environmental Protection if drought conditions in the state don't improve.

    The Record newspaper reports North Jersey has been under a drought warning since mid-October and Gov. Chris Christie could soon declare a statewide drought emergency.

    A drought emergency would empower the Republican governor to move water among utilities and allow the DEP to fine residents who use too much.

    If Christie does declare a drought emergency, it would be New Jersey's first since 2002-2003. The state has only imposed fines on residents once, in 1985.

    Recent rains have only marginally helped replenish local reservoirs, which officials say remain below the historic averages for this time of year.