NJ environmentalists push for drinking water plan
New Jersey benefits from an adequate supply of drinking water in most parts of the state, and drought concerns are few and far between, but according to environmental advocates in New Jersey, the overall picture for drinking water isn't so pretty.
They've been pushing the state to move on a new master plan for drinking water, which has been stalled for some time now and hasn't seen a major revision since 1996.
According to New Jersey Future, water shortages are present in certain locations across the state, and New Jersey's aging infrastructure, if not addressed, will eventually get the state "backed into a corner."
"In the urban areas, a lot of the drinking water pipes are 100 years old," said Chris Sturm, senior director of state policy at New Jersey Future. "They need to be replaced."
A 2013 report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers cited nearly $8 billion needed in New Jersey over the next 20 years for water infrastructure improvements.
An update to the state's master plan, which has been sitting on the governor's desk for years, would address long-term problems and strategies regarding future water supplies.
Larry Ragonese, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said the plan should be released at some point this year. According to Ragonese, Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy delayed the process.
"The water supply master plan, while it's important to us for long-term planning, had to take a bit of a back seat while we dealt with putting the state back together," Ragonese said. "A lot of our resources were redirected."