BUILDS ON ACTIONS TO PROTECT NEW JERSEY'S WATER SUPPLIES
Steps to Avoid Water Supply Emergencies
(05/02) TRENTON -- To protect New Jersey's water
supplies from future droughts or security threats, the New
Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced
today that DEP is undertaking an 18-month project to evaluate
water supply infrastructure throughout the state. The study
will investigate ways to mitigate and avoid drought emergencies
and address what measures are needed to prevent a catastrophic
loss of water due to natural disasters or terrorism.
"DEP is taking all necessary steps to provide an adequate
water supply to New Jersey citizens in the event of a major
loss of infrastructure," said DEP Commissioner Bradley
M. Campbell. "In light of recent domestic security
concerns, this study is an important component of our overall
strategy to protect New Jersey's critical water resources
in emergency situations."
DEP has awarded an $850,000 contract to a consulting engineering
company to conduct the study, which is expected to be completed
by April 2006. The evaluation will include all public community
water systems serving a population of at least 10,000 people.
Ninety percent of New Jersey's population is served by these
"Rather than manage our water resources from emergency
to emergency, we need to make sure that when the next drought
occurs, we have safeguards in place so that we can minimize
the need for measures that adversely affect businesses and
communities," said Commissioner Campbell. "This
study will help us do just that."
In the summer of 2002, New Jersey suffered a severe record-breaking
drought resulting in mandatory water restrictions. Despite
a rainy summer and fall, experts predict that another drought
is likely to occur in the future.
The infrastructure study will examine existing major water
transmission routes and interconnections assessing how these
separate systems can be integrated and operated as a statewide
system to best manage and distribute resources during an
emergency situation. A hydraulic model will also be developed
to assist DEP in evaluating a variety of "what if"
scenarios to ensure an adequate water supply is available
in the event of an emergency.
The study will provide important information about what
measures are necessary, including operational changes and
infrastructure improvements to avert a future water supply
emergency in the event of a drought or catastrophic event.
DEP is taking additional interim steps to secure the longevity
of New Jersey's water supplies by soliciting proposals for
alternative water supply strategy projects from over 400
water purveyors, dischargers and agricultural users throughout
the state. DEP is evaluating the proposals submitted and
will provide grants using funds secured from the 1981 Water
Supply Bond Fund. The proposed projects include using treated
wastewater effluent for landscape irrigation and other non-potable
DEP's actions to protect water supply infrastructure is
just one element of the Department's overall plan to preserve
and protect the state's water supplies. During the past
three years, 614 miles of streams and 7,800 acres of reservoirs
have been given the highest level of protection, preserving
the drinking water for future generations and preventing
any measurable deterioration in the existing water quality.
DEP has also adopted new stormwater regulations, which
protect water quality and preserve the integrity of drinking
water supplies statewide. This past November, DEP adopted
the strictest drinking water standard in the country for
arsenic and has just released reports assessing the vulnerability
of drinking water sources throughout the state. These Source
Water Assessment reports are available on the Department's
Web site at www.state.nj.us/dep/swap/.