Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


Water Infrastructure for Thriving Communities

Every resident and business in New Jersey deserves safe drinking water, a healthy home, clean rivers, and flood-free neighborhoods.

New Jersey Future’s growing water and health team is working to transform the state’s systems for drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, and lead remediation from the inside out. We are changing state policy, assisting practitioners, facilitating collaboratives, and enlisting community voices in advocacy. To connect with us, please contact New Jersey Future Policy Director Diane Schrauth  (dschrauthatnjfuturedotorg)   or any of the program staff noted below.

Jersey Water Works

Jersey Water Works (JWW) is an award-winning 600-member collaborative working to transform New Jersey’s inadequate water infrastructure by investing in sustainable, cost-effective solutions that provide communities with clean water and waterways; healthier, safer neighborhoods; local jobs; flood and climate resilience; and economic growth. JWW strives to better understand how to overcome the structural and systemic biases that impact water infrastructure policy decisions, and to support ongoing efforts by communities of color and low-income communities to influence water policy.

  • Members of JWW committees work across sectors to advance innovative solutions like the New Jersey Water Risk and Equity Map. Shared resources highlight best practices and the latest news to ensure that decision-makers, experts, and water consumers are up-to-date on current initiatives. Each year, hundreds of members and friends gather for a summer membership meeting and the Jersey Water Works annual conference. New Jersey Future provides backbone staff support to the collaborative and serves on its Steering Committee. Contact Program Manager Paula Figueroa-Vega  (pfigueroaatnjfuturedotorg)   or Program Coordinator Lauren Belsky  (lbelskyatnjfuturedotorg)   and click here to join the collaborative!
  • JWW’s Lead in Drinking Water Task Force is working to virtually eliminate lead in drinking water in 10 years to protect children’s health. In October 2019, the task force issued a report, Lead in Drinking Water: A Permanent Solution for New Jersey, that outlined 19 actions New Jersey could take. During 2021, several key pieces of state legislation were enacted, including the nation’s most aggressive requirements for lead service line replacement. In November 2021, the task force issued 10 solutions for child care facilities. In 2022, the task force is working to implement its recommendations by convening a new peer-sharing group, crafting practical policy and implementation solutions, and providing policy support to Lead-Free NJ. Contact Senior Policy Advisor Gary Brune  (gbruneatnjfuturedotorg)   for more information.
  • JWW launched Jersey WaterCheck in March 2021, a user-friendly dashboard that features data about the state’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems. The dashboard has information on approximately 542 drinking water and wastewater systems along with metrics for New Jersey’s 563 municipalities. It connects New Jerseyans to New Jersey water systems and provides the knowledge we need to improve New Jersey’s water infrastructure for individuals, communities, utilities, and our state’s leaders. Contact Program Manager Jyoti Venketraman  (jvenketramanatnjfuturedotorg)   for more information.

Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure

Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure aims to prevent flooding and water pollution across New Jersey by promoting the use of green stormwater infrastructure practices. Implementing green infrastructure will mitigate the increased rainfall from climate change, increase tree canopy in urban areas to reduce the heat island effect, and reduce flood risk. In these ways, green infrastructure will make New Jersey a more equitable and resilient state. Our work includes working with state agencies to update and improve rules, manuals, standards and programs; partnering with developers on green infrastructure policies and implementation; and connecting with municipalities to understand local challenges and develop solutions. Our resources and projects include:

  • Developer’s Green Infrastructure Guide is a detailed resource, produced in collaboration with the New Jersey Builders Association, to facilitate the inclusion of green infrastructure in private-sector developments.
  • The Trenton Green Team is a community-based initiative that coordinates environmental advocacy, green infrastructure demonstration projects, and other efforts in Trenton.

Contact Policy and Program Coordinator Andrew Tabas  (atabasatnjfuturedotorg)   for more information.

Sewage-Free Streets and Rivers

New Jersey Future coordinates Sewage-Free Streets and Rivers, an action-oriented campaign in communities with combined sewer systems to empower local organizations to engage residents and small business owners to shape the solutions that will be adopted through the implementation of the combined sewer overflow Long Term Control Plans. For more information or to join the Sewage-Free Streets and Rivers campaign, please contact Community Outreach Manager Mo Kinberg  (mkinbergatnjfuturedotorg)  .

Lead-Free NJ

The Lead-Free NJ collaborative unites community organizations, community members, and policy advocacy organizations to ensure that New Jersey’s children are free from lead poisoning and that our environment is lead-safe by advocating for changes to state and local policy. It recognizes the importance of representation in every aspect of Lead-Free NJ—from membership to leadership.

The collaborative focuses on legacy lead hazards in low-income communities and/or communities of color, while also creating the conditions for children to be free from lead poisoning statewide. Contact Program Manager Heather Sorge  (hsorgeatnjfuturedotorg)   for more information.

Stormwater Utilities

New Jersey Future works with the Flood Defense New Jersey coalition to support New Jersey localities to establish stormwater utilities as an equitable way to fund the water infrastructure necessary to provide flood protection and reduce water pollution. We do this through direct technical assistance, education, and state-level advocacy for financial support to communities. Our resources include the web-based Stormwater Utilities Resource Center, the NJ Stormwater Utilities Peer Learning Exchange, and limited engagement/pro bono consultants. 

For more information or to join the NJ Stormwater Utilities Learning Exchange, please contact Stormwater Manager Brianne Callahan  (bcallahanatnjfuturedotorg)   for more information.


Recent Reports:




New Jersey Future Blog
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.

New Resources to Drive New Jersey Toward Green Street Implementation

Roadways throughout the nation are a significant source of pollution to local streams, rivers, and lakes.  Stormwater runoff controls are essential for preventing pollutants from washing off roads and reducing local flooding. Converting traditional streets to green streets can mitigate these issues. If you would like to know how your community can begin implementing a green streets project, Jersey Water Works (JWW) has two new publications that can help you along.

NJ Residents can Improve Flood Management, one Rain Garden at a Time

Flooding is a critical issue at all scales. Water engineers tell us that individual community members can work together to solve this problem by building rain gardens. Rain gardens, a type of green infrastructure, are designed to soak up water during storms. On properties with rain gardens, this means less pooled water and more groundwater recharge. The more properties adopt this practice, the more pressure is relieved from the area’s municipal separate storm sewer system or combined sewer system, helping to reduce the extent of flooding downstream.

Curb Bumpout with plants
New Jersey Municipalities Share Green Infrastructure Planning Progress

The new stormwater rules that went into effect on March 2, 2021 require NJ municipalities to update their Stormwater Control Ordinances (SCOs) to require GI in new major development projects. We examined which municipalities had updated their SCOs as required and which had gone above and beyond the NJDEP’s minimum requirements. Out of the 43 towns surveyed and researched, 28 towns have updated their SCO and 24 have posted these updates on their respective websites.

Lead in Drinking Water in Public Schools: State Assistance Accelerates the Solution in New Jersey

Based on research conducted by the Trenton Bureau of the USA TODAY Network in 2019, approximately 480 school buildings across a third of the state’s school districts recorded lead levels that exceeded 15 parts per billion, the action level set by the federal government. Given the severity of the problem and the significant cost of remediation, it was clear that state assistance was necessary to protect students and teachers.

Articles and Stories
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.

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.

Revitalizing an Essential Urban Public Space

2015 Smart Growth Awards: Reactivation of a neglected landmark park in downtown Newark as a thriving public space.

Making a Successful Street ‘Complete’

2015 Smart Growth Awards: Plan for re-engineering 16 blocks of Washington Street in Hoboken to improve safety and comfort for cyclists and pedestrians

Grassroots Collaboration on Green Infrastructure

2015 Smart Growth Awards: Partnership of community organizations working to construct green and grey infrastructure to alleviate flooding in the city of Camden.

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

Reports, Presentations and Testimony

© New Jersey Future, 16 W. Lafayette St. • Trenton, NJ 08608 • Phone: 609-393-0008 • Fax: 609-360-8478

Are you receiving our email newsletter?

  • Latest news on land-use policy issues
  • Research and reports
  • Upcoming events
  • Monthly

Click to subscribe