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Ridgewood Water Chief Details Reasons for Stage II Restrictions

Frank Moritz said reserve levels in tanks had reached dangerously low levels, prompting the need to halt irrigation on Mondays and limit watering.

Fighting a small drought, Ridgewood Water Director Frank Moritz told the Ridgewood Village Council that dwindling tank capacity and a fear that fires could not be fought prompted the decision to declare .

"We based our decisions on the levels in the tanks," Moritz said Wednesday night.

When the decision was made Tuesday to begin Stage II restrictions (which bans irrigation on Mondays and requires adherance to an odd-even scheduled for sprinklers), the tanks had dropped to just 55 percent capacity, Moritz said.

"When it gets that low the system has the ability to drop anywhere from 10 to 15 percent in the night," he said. "Should it drop at a level of 55, we could be in serious danger in not being able to fight a fire with a sufficient [level] of water."

As of Wednesday night, the tanks had recovered to about 70 percent capacity, he said. The hope is with Monday's restrictions, the tanks will be back to full capacity in the beginning of next week, he added.

The tanks, which are spread around Wyckoff, Midland Park, Glen Rock and Ridgewood, can store about 12 million gallons of water, though Moritz said not all are in uniform in capacity. As a result, water is shifted from tank to tank to maintain pressure.

The system currently requires interconnections with Hawthorne and United Water to provide additional water (along with wells). Ridgewood pumps as much as 20 million gallons during peak times over the summer, and with such demands the system can't replenish itself without a healthy dose of rain, Moritz said.

With plans to find a new source of water – – Moritz said its his hope officials won't soon encounter a situation where they'd need to outright ban irrigation (Stage IV).

The for exceeding its water allotment in 2010 and is expected to face another fee for 2011 usage.

JV July 13, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Let's not forget that this is also the same department that a few years ago announced that it had to raise rates because people complied with water restrictions, resulting in a budget shortfall. Interesting mindset - "Thanks for doing what we asked of you; now you have to pay more because your actions made us lose money."
thetentman July 13, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Yes we were penalized for conserving too much water. There should be a method to catch runoff from the boondoggle turf fields. Nice idea. I know that my home used to have a well for drinking water but was switched to town water decades ago. I would consider hooking it up for irrigation purpposes if I can find it. The town has lost the records (flood) so who knows.
J.D. Luke July 13, 2012 at 05:29 PM
There is something terribly ironic about losing the records of the well, which could be used to help during a drought, due to a flood.
Lily Ebanson July 14, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Why can't people just realize that its more important to have drinking & bathing water instead of a green lawn?!
RdgwdGRock July 16, 2012 at 01:16 AM
it is estimated that Rdwd loses 20% of its water, and we are asked to conserve http://www.northjersey.com/news/North_Jersey_drinking_water_going_to_waste_as_system_leaks_lose_25.html

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