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Why Ridgewood Faces a Water Emergency Despite Spring Rainfall

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood  NJ , the Water emergency continues , Village Manager Keith Kazmark said in an email ,

“We thank you for not watering your lawn this week and ask you to please continue NOT WATERING through the weekend. Your cooperation has made a difference, but we are not out of the woods yet. Stage 3 water restrictions, or more severe measures, may still need to be invoked. If that happens, they may be in effect for the rest of the summer.”

“Please note that you may water landscape plantings (not your lawn) by hand only on your designated days – Wednesday and Sunday for even addresses, Tuesday and Saturday for odd addresses. The best time to water plantings is before 10:00 am or after 6:00 pm to avoid evaporation.”

“Again, thank you for your cooperation. Together, we can get through this heat wave.”

Q: We had so much rain in the spring. Why did we have a water emergency on the first hot day in June?

A: Ridgewood Water operates as a groundwater system, meaning we don’t store rainwater. Unlike systems with reservoirs, our system relies solely on groundwater. Rain helps by reducing the need for lawn watering, but it doesn’t replenish our water supply directly.

Q: What happened?

A: The emergency, which began on June 18, 2024, was due to overuse, particularly from automatic lawn watering. This overuse caused a sudden and severe drop in tank reserves. One of Ridgewood Water’s tanks experienced a 19-foot drop between 1:00 am and 7:00 am. On that day, system demand peaked at 15 million gallons, which is 7.5 million gallons higher than the average daily demand.

Q: In emergency situations like this, can you get water from other sources?

A: On June 19, 2024, Ridgewood Water purchased 4.5 million gallons of water from two nearby utilities. However, we can’t rely on this regularly due to limits set by utility agreements and state regulations.

Q: What is being done?

A: Since 2015, Ridgewood Water has invested $90 million in infrastructure improvements, including drilling new wells and establishing connections with new supply sources. The next step is to enhance the infrastructure for more efficient water movement throughout the system, a project delayed by the construction of PFAS treatment facilities.

On June 12, 2023, the Village Council awarded a contract to Circular Water Solutions to update the hydraulic modeling for the Ridgewood Water system, examine its functionality, and recommend improvements. We expect this modeling effort to be completed by the end of 2024, allowing us to budget for necessary improvements in the 2025 water utility budget.

Q: What can I do to help?

A: Stay diligent. Turn off all sprinklers, both automatic and manual. You may water new landscape plantings by hand on designated days: Wednesday and Sunday for even addresses, and Tuesday and Saturday for odd addresses. The best times to water are before 10:00 am or after 6:00 pm to minimize evaporation. By working together, we can navigate through this heat wave.

For more updates and information on how to conserve water, visit Ridgewood Water’s website and follow us on social media. Your cooperation is crucial in ensuring our community remains resilient during these challenging times.

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47 thoughts on “Why Ridgewood Faces a Water Emergency Despite Spring Rainfall

  1. Bullshit and nothing but the bullshit. Complete incompetence is the true story.

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    1. Is it true that there is no enforcement mechanism for violaters in midland park and wyckoff??????????????????????????

        1. Midland Park website says ‘please stop lawn watering etc’ verbage from Rwd water. The Wyckoff website says ‘please consider turning off your sprinklers’… Apparently in Ridgewood we MUST comply or get a fine..

          1. You must not think.

            Richwood does the thinking for you.

          2. Ridgewood has NOT BEEN ENFORCING FINES, ESPECIALLY TO THOSE WITH “SMART WATER SYSTEMS” !!

        2. Wyckoff officials have publicly stated that they have no intention of enforcing watering restrictions.

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          1. I’d suggest building a few hundred affordable housing units on the Water Co property on Cedar Hill ave in Wyckoff.
            Thanks Wyckoff for giving us the middle finger

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            1. Drill baby, Drill more wells!

      1. Yes. No enforcement in Glen Rock either.

  2. Mr. Kazmark also has a bridge for sale.

  3. Too little, too late.

  4. Ridgewood had rain water storage/ flood prevention areas and they put plastic fields on top of them. Work with nature not against it.

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    1. You seem confused.

      1. If there was undisturbed ground and trees where Maple field and the high-school football field are there would likely be more ground water and less flooding. They build turf fields where they shouldn’t be and now we have a water crisis as well as flooding.

        1. Yes, a quarter-acre of soil would surely mitigate the tens of thousands of gallons in flood events. Check out the big brains over here.

  5. Oh no, so how are we going to keep the sanitation trucks clean. If They can’t wash out , they’re going to stink.

  6. Propaganda piece blaming residents. Imagine telling residents when they can only water plants 2x a week with a garden hose.

    How much water does the Health Barn use?

    How much water does the Ridgewood Car Wash use?

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    1. Does RW Car Wash recycle their water? I forget.

      1. They do, and their a business

  7. Pathetic situation. This is what happens when fields and toxic astro turf money pits are the top priority.

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    1. That has nothing to do with pumping water from the aquifer.

      The anti Schedler dozen try to link their problems to every issue in the town.

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    2. The Ridgewood sports group member committee leaders and politics are a Very aggressive group of Bullies in this town.
      Been that way for decades, get used to it. They are the powers that be.
      They do it for the kids. Teaches them how to be tough and get what you want.

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  8. This is the consequence of years of the planning board cheerfully accepting impact statements that say no matter how many new units we build, there will be no affect on infrastructure demand.

    The water system has no reservoirs and the NIMBY’s at the top of the ridge have and will defeat any attempt to build new tanks or expand the old ones.

    As they always do, the water company, abetted by the Village Council, blames the residents for the mess

    The only rational solution is to sell the water company to a provider that has reservoirs and while that sale is pending, issue a moratorium on new hook-ups

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    1. Thank you for bringing this up. About 20 years ago the Water Dept wanted to replace the tank on Ridge Road and the resident response was swift and furious. Didn’t want a bigger tank in their neighborhood. So here we are

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      1. That is true. The town knew it, yet backed down to the Ridge neighborhood when they flexed their muscles. Not enough storage tanks for ALL the people.
        Yet Ridge has their olympic swimming pools.

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        1. put your tank in the lawns

          1. Thanks to the ultimate Nimbys

          2. Pathetic

    2. Yes, sell to an entity for which profit is the primary motivation.

      Surely, they have residents’ best interests at heart, not that of their shareholders.

  9. Maintaining lawn cost $$$
    If businesses are free to use water and other towns don’t have similar restrictions, then water ur lawn.

  10. Ban the use and especially the construction of private swimming pools. People can join Graydon.

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    1. Speaking of Graydon, drain it, bottle it, and drink up. This is an emergency donchaknow.

    2. How about you only flush on Tuesdays and shower alternate Thursdays? I didn’t think so….

      1. Finally some sensible solutions.

  11. Can you believe it?! After last night’s torrential downpour there was a home on Oak St this morning (Sunday, 8:30AM) blasting their sprinklers in the front yard at full throttle! I guess we’re just openly thumbing our noses at the whole Village now. Stay classy Ridgewood.

    1. I hope you went and knocked on their door in the very least Karen.

    2. Or maybe they have been away on vacation? We are frequently gone for several weeks at a time to our second home or travels abroad.

      1. And that’s an excuse because? Surely they can call their sprinkler boy to shut it off.

        1. I have a sprinkler system and no “sprinkler boy” to call. In fact, I do my own landscaping and don’t have a house cleaner! How’s that for you.

  12. That’s what the officials in cushy jobs are paid to do.

  13. Of that $90mm of cap ex, i would like to know how much has and is spent on the HQ building? Another white elephant thst keeps on giving.

    1. Ridgewood Water was moved out of Village Hall to make space for additional RPD office space. That’s not exactly a well kept secret. Perhaps ask the RPD why they need so many office. Most of RW staff was over at E. Glen and NOT in Village Hall. At least now they are all together.

  14. A class “A” town should be able to supply all the water necessary, and willingly paid for, by their customers. ONE hot day and Ridgewood goes into water panic mode. The Village needs more water capacity, not more underutilized ball fields.

  15. Hold on – just so I understand, I am not allowed to water the lawn except by HAND on the 2 days I am apparently “permitted” to water normally?
    I didn’t get the notice.
    Other towns with the same water system are not required to do so? F*ck that.

  16. Water company admits water shortage emergency was caused by particularly overuse of automatic sprinkler systems. If so, water company has a list of registered “water smart controllers” that they must specifically sign and have it notarized to agree to the rules. If overuse by any of them, they must pay a fine and /or face having water shut OFF at the curb.
    Water department needs to review that list of accounts to see the violators (there are some) that over water their properties all the time, which is reflected by gallons use.

    Actually, it would be prudent they review ALL accounts registered “smart” or not, to find the violators. Usage shows in their accounts by date. ((Hint between 1:00 am and 7:00 am.))
    Unless there was a line/ sprinkler head / shut off valve leak/break.
    C’mon, 15 MILLION GALLONS!!!! in 6 HOURS !!!! What a F’n WASTE!!

    “The emergency, which began on June 18, 2024, was due to overuse, particularly from automatic lawn watering. This overuse caused a sudden and severe drop in tank reserves. One of Ridgewood Water’s tanks experienced a 19-foot drop between 1:00 am and 7:00 am. On that day, system demand peaked at 15 million gallons, which is 7.5 million gallons higher than the average daily demand.””

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