About the SaveH2ONJ.org Campaign

SaveH2ONJ.org is a campaign to highlight the importance of regional planning and water supply protection. Learn more about the organizations behind the campaign.

SaveH2ONJ.org was started by the Pinelands Preservation Alliance and the New Jersey Highlands Coalition to draw attention to the importance of regional planning in protecting our state’s water supply.  This initiative has grown to include the American Littoral Society, the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. It is more important than ever that the state takes concrete steps to protect water quality and water supply.

Got Water SaveH2Onj Billboard graphic

The SaveH2Onj.org billlboard located in Trenton near DEP offices.

One of our first campaign efforts was the creation of a billboard located next to New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) offices in Trenton. The first billboard featured Eileen Swan, former director of the New Jersey Highlands Council who was released from the council against the objections of many who support Highlands protection.


What is the Water Supply Master Plan and Why Does it Matter?

 

The New Jersey Water Supply Management Act, approved in 1981, recognizes that water resources are public assets that the State holds in trust for its citizens and requires that the state create a Water Supply Master Plan.  You can review the Act here.

This legislation entrusts the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with primary responsibility to ensure that New Jersey can cope with all foreseeable water needs and prescribes that DEP develop and periodically update the New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan.

This plan estimates the amount of water that was withdrawn from each watershed in an effort to determine if there was sufficient remaining water to support future water supply withdrawals, suitable water quality, protect and maintain aquatic resources, and defer saltwater intrusion. If a watershed had ample remaining water to maintain these uses, that watershed was concluded to be in “surplus.” If a watershed did not possess ample water to maintain these uses, that watershed was concluded to be in “deficit.”

New Jersey’s Water Supply Master Plan was recently updated and released for comments in May 2017.  It was last updated in 1996 – just over 20 years ago.  The plan then showed that 8 of the 23 watersheds in the state would be at a deficit in 2010 which included the Mullica River, Maurice River and Cape May Coastal watersheds.  The 1996 plan based its numbers on a population of 7.7 million people in 1990 growing to 8.9 million in 2040. Projections from the updated plan still show deficits in many of the same watersheds.  The plan identifies four (4) of the State’s 20 watershed management areas as currently being stressed, with fifteen (15) becoming stressed if authorized permits are fully utilized.

Pinelands Preservation Alliance, New Jersey Highlands Coalition, Association of New Jersey Environmental Commission, and American Littoral Society joined together as the Save H20 NJ Coalition to increase public awareness about the lack of water supply planning, to put pressure on the state to release the statewide water supply master plan, and to create a state-wide campaign that engages diverse groups and individuals to share in the fight to protect our water resources.

A revision to the New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan has been drafted, and formally released in May 2017. To more accurately identify existing and potential water supply concerns, this document evaluated the 151 smaller watersheds of the state, employed a more comprehensive quantification of demand and the nature of the demand, and used a more precise analytical tool to estimate the status of these watersheds.

New Jersey’s water supply and water quality are becoming increasingly threatened by consumption and inappropriate development.  Although the state’s regulations can ensure sufficient water supply for both human use and ecological systems, New Jersey’s draft Water Supply Plan fails to to provide solutions to the current and anticipated water supply challenges identified in the Plan itself.