New Jersey’s summer has been filled with the kind of hot, humid days that just scream for slowing down, finding a shady spot, and sipping an ice cold beverage. Yet in the (well air-conditioned) rooms at the Robert Wood Johnson Conference Center in Hamilton, Jersey Water Works’ committees were doing anything but slowing down. Members of these committees discussed their 2018 workplan projects and how they could incorporate One Water into their work. Below are their responses.
Asset Management and Finance Committee:
- Schedule and publicize utility tours, to educate all stakeholders on the various issues to do with both drinking water and wastewater;
- Find ways to demonstrate the links between energy and water, and the importance of increasing energy efficiency;
- Consider all three elements of the triple bottom line: economics, the environment, and equity, and incorporate those together rather than addressing them in a siloed manner.
Education and Outreach Committee:
- Make sure the news media understands issues surrounding water infrastructure. Approach members of the media to highlight the issue. An information sheet in draft form was circulated for review; once this is done, it will be disseminated and lists of local reporters and outlets built.
- Develop resources for municipal governments to use as they engage their constituents. Identify active community groups who can help with municipal outreach, make sure they have resources, and identify who can do this work in addition to municipal governments. Make sure information resources are easily accessible.
- Partner with a school (a school in Robbinsville has been identified) to create a model One Water education program that can be disseminated widely.
Green Infrastructure Committee:
- Continue to work to incorporate green infrastructure into existing regulations, Complete Streets policies, and new stormwater regulations;
- Link green infrastructure and Green Acres. Seek examples of green infrastructure in parks and rights of ways, to use as demonstration projects.
- The Green Infrastructure Engagement Subcommittee is trying to find or create green infrastructure champions, and to create education resources for them.
- Bring in interested new members.
Combined Sewer Overflow Committee:
- Make sure operators know that cleaning out pipes is something that is feasible to do, and that the benefits are understood;
- Engage local residents, and develop materials to help them understand the issue and support necessary investments;
- Educate local constituents on the importance of stormwater utility fees to help fund critical infrastructure upgrades.
As the summer fades into fall, each of these committees will be meeting again to discuss progress and next steps. Not a member yet? Please click here to join Jersey Water Works and add your voice to the wave of action that’s working to transform New Jersey’s water infrastructure.