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Water Conference Urges Action From New Jersey’s New Administration

December 6th, 2017 by

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka delivering opening remarks at the Jersey Water Works Conference.

New Jersey’s water infrastructure is failing, and the state must act now before the problem worsens. This theme echoed repeatedly at the third annual Jersey Water Works Conference on December 1, which attracted nearly 300 participants from a wide range of professions. Jersey Water Works, a collaborative organization of over 350 members, advocates for transforming New Jersey’s aging water infrastructure. The group recently conducted a survey that found protecting drinking water is the top environmental issue for New Jerseyans, rating twice as high in importance as cleaning up toxic spills or reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, when asked to select a top water priority for New Jersey’s governor and Legislature, at least three-quarters of New Jerseyans chose securing safe drinking water. As Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said in his welcoming remarks, “Water is the most important resource we have.”

Many New Jersey residents value clean drinking water, but there is a lack of public awareness about how precarious the state’s aging infrastructure is. Problems like leaking pipes, combined sewer overflows, and lead in water are not as obvious as potholes. As Mike Elmendorf, president and chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of New York State said, “People don’t think about this stuff until it’s broken.”

Read the full recap of the conference over on the Jersey Water Works website.

Also at the conference, the collaborative released a white paper on the urgent need for investment in upgrading the state’s water infrastructure, and presented the inaugural New Jersey One Water Awards.

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