Wednesday, February 21, 2024


Stone Harbor’s Water Usage Grows in a ‘Concerning’ Trend

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By Vince Conti

STONE HARBOR – Annual water usage continues to grow in the borough, a situation that “is not alarming but it is concerning,” Administrator Manny Parada told the council at its Tuesday, Dec. 5, meeting.

Fresh water in the borough comes from municipal wells, where the total amount that can be obtained is limited by a state-imposed allocation. Parada said water consumption is still well within the borough’s allocation, but his concern was that, year-to-date, the borough had used 205 million gallons compared to 197 million last year.

“The trend is going in the wrong direction,” he said.

Parada said the borough was at 77% of its annual allocation and in no danger of exceeding it. He said Stone Harbor might need to develop a plan before water usage gets closer to the allocation limit.

He admitted he did not yet have a good handle on what was driving up consumption. One thought was irrigation, but consumption remains above normal now that the months for high levels of irrigation have ended.

Parada also said he felt he could safely rule out leakage. “We have addressed a number of leaks, and I just don’t think that’s it,” he told council.

Topping off pools is probably a contributor, but it does not explain late fall/early winter consumption increases, he said.

There was some suspicion, unconfirmed by evidence, that the culprit may be more off-season use of second homes, along with the trend of demolition of more modest homes in favor of much larger ones that use more water, Parada said.

Contact the author, Vince Conti, at


Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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