Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


Water Infrastructure for Thriving Communities

New Jersey’s cities and towns face a multi-billion-dollar price-tag to fix drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. The cost of not fixing them will be even higher.

Strong communities depend upon reliable water infrastructure. Every resident and business in New Jersey deserves safe drinking water, clean rivers, and flood-free neighborhoods. The growing New Jersey Future water team is working to transform the state’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems through a multi-pronged approach to engage people, change state policy, and foster innovation. For more information on New Jersey Future’s work in this area, please contact Managing Director for Policy and Water Chris Sturm  (csturmatnjfuturedotorg)  , or any of the individual program leads noted below.

Jersey Water Works

Jersey Water Works is a cross-sector collaborative focused on transforming New Jersey’s inadequate urban 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.

  • The collaborative has convened a Lead in Drinking Water Task Force to develop a practical, broadly supported agenda for eliminating lead in drinking water. The task force’s report, Lead in Drinking Water: A Permanent Solution for New Jersey, outlines actions New Jersey can take to virtually eliminate lead in drinking water in 10 years. In 2019-2020 and beyond, the task force will work on implementing the report recommendations.
  • The collaborative is creating a data dashboard to display the current condition of drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems, as well as progress toward improvements. By supporting continuous learning and action, the dashboard will accelerate the improvement of water infrastructure in the collaborative’s four goal areas.

New Jersey Future provides backbone staff support to the Jersey Water Works collaborative as well as serving on its Steering Committee. For more information or to join the collaborative, please contact Program Manager Paula Figueroa-Vega  (pfigueroaatnjfuturedotorg)   or Program Coordinator Lauren Belsky  (lbelskyatnjfuturedotorg)  .

Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure

Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure aims to move green stormwater infrastructure practices into the mainstream. New Jersey Future is working with pilot towns to integrate green infrastructure into their community plans, capital projects and development review processes; partnering with developers and their professionals; facilitating innovative demonstration projects; and working with state agencies to update and improve rules, manuals, standards and programs to facilitate the use of green infrastructure. Among the resources the program has produced:

  • Developer’s Green Infrastructure Guide is an online and printed information resource, produced in collaboration with the New Jersey Builders Association, to facilitate the inclusion of green infrastructure in private-sector developments.

For more information on the Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure program please email us  (greeninfrastructureatnjfuturedotorg)  .

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 to empower community organizations to engage residents and small business owners to shape the solutions that will be adopted in July 2020 to reduce localized flooding and the raw sewage dumped into our waterways. We also convene a peer support network for our partners working in other CSO cities. For more information or to join the Sewage-Free Streets and Rivers campaign, please contact Community Outreach Manager Mo Kinberg  (mkinbergatnjfuturedotorg)  .

Stormwater Utilities and Financing

New Jersey Future worked with the Flood Defense New Jersey coalition to protect communities from damaging floods and harmful stormwater pollution. Together, we supported the passage of legislation that enables the establishment of stormwater utilities as a stable funding source that local governments and utilities can use to create, maintain, or upgrade stormwater infrastructure. We are now providing support and resources to help communities establish stormwater utilities. For more information on stormwater utilities, please contact Senior Policy Manager Gary Brune  (gbruneatnjfuturedotorg)  .

Municipal Technical Assistance

  • Trenton Municipal Action Team
    New Jersey Future is working with the Rutgers Water Resources Program and Isles Inc. to pilot a community-based initiative addressing environmental health issues through the implementation of green infrastructure demonstration projects in the City of Trenton. New Jersey Future’s role is to help facilitate the Trenton municipal action team and to work with the city to review and recommend changes to its stormwater ordinance. For more information, please email us  (greeninfrastructureatnjfuturedotorg)  .
  • Newark Green Stormwater Management
    New Jersey Future has provided technical assistance to the City of Newark on stormwater management and green infrastructure as the city prepares its combined sewer system upgrade plan. We organized study trips for city staff to Philadelphia and Buffalo; and helped staff integrate green infrastructure into city capital projects and private development, and advance green infrastructure demonstration projects. We also work with local partners to develop and promote consistent messaging on green stormwater management. For more information, please email us  (greeninfrastructureatnjfuturedotorg)  .

Unlocking New Jersey’s Green Infrastructure Financing Program

New Jersey Future has worked with the New Jersey Water Bank to make it easier for cities to gain access to funding for green infrastructure projects that resolve combined sewer overflows. We are helping two cities advance through the funding process; we have prepared a user-friendly applicant’s guide; and have published a white paper that highlights program successes, identifies successful policies, and recommends strategies for applicants This work builds on our Build It Green initiative. For more information, please contact Managing Director, Policy and Water Chris Sturm  (csturmatnjfuturedotorg)  .


Recent Reports:




New Jersey Future Blog
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.

Oh, Sweet Relief! Stormwater Utilities as an Equitable Tool to Solve Flooding and Pollution

When we discuss the attributes of our favorite communities, chronic flooding or unswimmable lakes and streams do not make the list. However, many municipalities in New Jersey confront those problems and, for at least some of them, the creation of a stormwater utility could be the key to a more sustainable, prosperous future. In this session entitled Oh, Sweet Relief! Stormwater Utilities as an Equitable Took to Solve Flooding and Pollution, held during the 2021 Planning and Redevelopment Conference, co-hosted by New Jersey Future and the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association, four speakers covered the basics of stormwater utilities, including typical program design, fee structures, and credits for stormwater mitigation projects.

Savvy Stormwater Strategies: How Planning at Every Level Can Help New Jersey Weather the Storm

A four-speaker panel, during the session Savvy Stormwater Strategies: How Planning at Every Level Can Help New Jersey Weather the Storm, held at the 2021 Planning and Redevelopment Conference co-hosted by New Jersey Future and the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association, explored this issue from a regulatory, research, municipal, and policy standpoint. The session provided practical guidance on strategies to corral runoff and increase resiliency in the face of climate change, and identified important next steps to consider.

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

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