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THE CRITICAL NEED FOR NEW JERSEY’S WATER SUPPLY PLAN

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JENNIFER COFFEY AND TIM DILLINGHAM | FEBRUARY 27, 2017

With 14 counties under drought warning, the governor must release the Water Supply Plan — whether it’s ready or not

Jennifer Coffey and Tim Dillingham

With the beginning of the new calendar year, New Jersey has entered its third consecutive year of drought, with 14 counties remaining under an official drought-warning status. While winter rains and snow are helping drinking-water reservoirs refill, the drought warning remains. In six weeks, spring will bring blooming flowers, growing lawns, warmer temperatures, and increasing demands for water. Increasing demands for clean water during a time of drought in the most densely populated state in the nation is why, despite what one prominent scientist has recently written, we desperately need an updated Water Supply Plan for the Garden State.

Gov. Chris Christie’s failure to release an update to the State Water Supply Plan is threatening New Jersey’s supply of clean, fresh drinking water. On Earth Day 2015, in April, the New Jersey Senate Legislative Oversight Committee held a hearing at which experts testified on the need for an updated Water Supply Plan. Our current plan is 21 years old and 16 years overdue for an update. Committees in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature have passed resolutions directing the governor to release the draft plan immediately, yet amidst a drought warning, there is still no sign of the plan.

The Water Supply Plan works as an accounting checkbook for New Jersey’s water supplies. The goal is to ensure that we have enough clean water for residents, businesses, power production, farming, and the environment for this and future generations. The master plan includes recommendations for balancing the diverse demands on the water supply with the amount of water that replenishes the sources of that water — precipitation that feeds our shared streams, rivers, and underground water sources known as aquifers.

https://www.njspotlight.com/stories/17/02/26/op-ed-the-critical-need-for-new-jersey-s-water-supply-plan/