New Jersey faces possible drought warning due to lack of rain

New Jersey could face a formal drought warning as 12 counties in north and central New Jersey are suffering from a lack of water.

Environmental officials say the drought concern began in the winter due to the small of amount of snow. The problem continued with a lack of rain in the spring and summer.

The farmers at Demarest Farm in Bergen County say their fruit crop was affected.

"The fruit was a little smaller but it was sweeter because you had more sugar content," says Jim Spollen.

Demarest Farms was able to get by with added irrigation and a process called thinning. But the drought affected its new trees, which are 10 to 15 percent smaller than usual.

Much of North Jersey has been under a drought watch since July, but in the next few days, the state will decide if it'll go to a drought warning. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection held a public hearing on the matter Thursday morning.

"You can see more often than not, we've had below average precipitation," says State Climatologist Dr. Dave Robinson.

The one crop that is doing well in the Garden State right now is pumpkins because they flourish in drier climates.

The current drought watch means residents are asked to voluntarily conserve water. A drought emergency would mean mandatory restrictions.

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