Gov. Chris Christie announced Friday evening that he is taking action as Hurricane Sandy—the so-called Frankenstorm—heads toward the East Coast.
Christie said he will have gates lowered at four northern New Jersey reservoirs starting Friday night. The move is being done in an effort to mitigate potential flooding from Hurricane Sandy.
“These actions are necessary due to the potentially unprecedented nature of the storm that is heading our way,” he said. “A great deal of rainfall is expected which could cause major flooding, so we are taking every step we can to try to mitigate the potential flooding that could occur.”
Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin detailed the steps during a teleconference this evening with local officials.
“New Jersey’s reservoirs are designed to provide water, not for flood control,” said Martin. “But given the situation, we decided we needed to get as much water out of the reservoir systems as possible, creating void space for runoff from the storm.”
The reservoirs being drawn down are the Boonton Reservoir (which serves Parsippany-Troy Hills), the Woodcliffe Lake-Lake Tappan-Oradell Reservoir, the Charlottesburg Reservoir and the Wanaque Reservoir.
During Hurricane Irene, which hit New Jersey in August 2011, floods caused severe flooding throughout Parsippany and, in particular, Lake Hiawatha, where some homeowners remain displaced more than a year later.
Some residents theorized that the flooding damage could have been minimized had flood gates at over-capacity reservoirs been lowered days prior to Irene's appearance. Area government officials maintain that the cause of the flooding was an unprecedented rainfall, and not the reservoir gates.