Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces

 

Water and Sewer

Water is a fundamental resource both to New Jersey’s natural heritage and to its economic well-being. Water resources serve the needs of people, agriculture and industry. The regulatory system governing the use of water and wastewater not only affects our environmental health, but can also help rein in sprawl and support the smart, center-based development called for in the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.

The state of New Jersey has a complex system of laws, regulations and programs that address planning for and management of water, wastewater and stormwater.  This system addresses both water quantity (supply) and water quality, and affects water infrastructure and land use decisions.

At the regional level, planning frameworks in the Highlands and Pinelands regions were established to protect those regions’ vulnerable water resources.

One of the first rules of land use is that development follows infrastructure. Where sewers are located largely dictates where development occurs. Similarly, where and how septic systems are regulated governs how larger-lot subdivisions are designed.

The New Jersey state Department of Environmental Protection administers the statewide Water Quality Management Planning (WQMP) rule, NJAC 7:15, in order to ensure water quality through a wastewater planning process and related mechanisms.

New Jersey Future has been actively engaged in researching, convening stakeholders and advising the wastewater planning process because of its impact on where and how growth occurs. Working with county planning departments and staff at the DEP Division of Coastal and Land Use Planning, we tracked progress in the adoption of updated Future Wastewater Service Area (FWSA) maps, which will likely affect where state government directs development incentives.

Other resources:

  • Background information on wastewater planning from ANJEC
  • DEP Water Quality Management Planning page, with links to the WQMP rule, statutes, and related items

New Jersey’s urban areas face particular water-infrastructure challenges, exacerbated by a coming deadline for establishing plans to control their sewer systems. Learn more and download our report, Ripple Effects, on our urban water infrastructure resource page.

 

  • Water Infrastructure for Thriving CommunitiesWater Infrastructure for Thriving Communities

    A resource page focused on initiatives to upgrade New Jersey's aging water infrastructure and reduce combined-sewer overflows.

  • Stormwater UtilitiesStormwater Utilities

    A resource page focused on stormwater utilities, an important tool available to communities to help manage stormwater-related polluted runoff and flooding.

  • Mainstreaming Green Infrastructurebioswale in Somerset, New Jersey, captures rainwater and reduces flood risk.

    Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure is a program to make green infrastructure the first choice for stormwater management in New Jersey.

New Jersey Future Blog
Award-Winning Map Shows Water-Related Environmental Justice Issues in New Jersey

The Summer 2021 floods in New Jersey, none more widespread and damaging than following Hurricane Ida, showed the damage that stormwater can wreak on communities. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) anticipates that rainfall intensity will increase due to climate change, meaning that flooding will become more frequent.

Street View: Fostering an Inclusive Community Through Complete and Green Streets

From a satellite view, our streets, our towns, and our lives look picturesque. In reality, we know they are much messier than that.

One Year Later: How NJ Municipalities Have Implemented DEP’s Stormwater Management Rules

It has been just over a year since New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (NJDEP) 2020 amendment to the Stormwater Management Rule (NJAC 7:8) took effect.

Making Savvy, Successful Stormwater Solutions: Why the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer (MS4) Permit Renewal Matters

As New Jersey faces increasing rainfall due to climate change and widespread water pollution, effective stormwater management becomes an increasingly important tactic for promoting healthy streams and improved water quality.

Crossroads in New Jersey: Investing in Water Infrastructure “Post-Newark”

Indeed, the full value of Newark’s LSL replacement program lies not in its completion, but in what it suggests about what can be accomplished in communities across the state. Thus, following the completion of Newark’s nationally acclaimed program, the conversation across the state—and across the country—has pivoted from what happened in Newark to what should happen next.

Articles and Stories
Growing Smart and Water Wise

Development in the Pinelands growth areas has affected water resources and will continue to exert pressures going forward. This report highlights what can be done by municipal, regional and state agencies to minimize their negative impacts. July 2014.

Ripple Effects

This report and related case studies summarize the state of urban water infrastructure in New Jersey and how it affects residents and businesses. May 2014.

2016 Smart Growth Award Winners

A redevelopment of a landmark downtown building; several projects designed to spur homeownership in historically disinvested areas; an urban farm; and a bold resiliency plan are the winners of New Jersey Future’s 2016 Smart Growth Awards. Al Koeppe is the recipient of the Cary Edwards Leadership Award.

2015 Smart Growth Award Winners

A redevelopment of a historic urban park; the expansion of an anchor institution in our capital city; a “complete” redesign of a major urban street; a landmark multi-use building that serves as a community anchor; two plans to revitalize neighborhoods near transit; and a pioneering collaborative effort to improve urban neighborhoods prone to stormwater flooding are the winners of New Jersey Future’s 2015 Smart Growth Awards. Anne S. Babineau Esq. wins the Cary Edwards Leadership Award.

Communicating Value to Consumers: Strategies for Water and Sewer Utilities

A one-hour webinar focused on consumer-facing communications strategies for water and sewer utilities. Thursday, May 14, 2015.

See all New Jersey Future Blog posts and articles in this category »
 

Reports, Presentations and Testimony

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