SENATE RESOLUTION No. 93

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED DECEMBER 12, 2016

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  CHRISTOPHER "KIP" BATEMAN

District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)

Senator  LINDA R. GREENSTEIN

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Urges DEP to revise and update Statewide Water Supply Plan and urges citizens of State to conserve water.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


A Senate Resolution urging the Department of Environmental Protection to revise and update the Statewide Water Supply Plan and urging citizens of the State to conserve water.

 

Whereas, The State of New Jersey has experienced extremely dry weather conditions over the past several months, and this lack of rainfall is having adverse impacts on stream flows, shallow groundwater reserves, and runoff into drinking water supply reservoirs; and

Whereas, During the past six months, measured precipitation across the northern and central regions of the State has ranged between 25 and 50 percent below normal levels; and

Whereas, Combined reservoir storage in the State’s northeastern, central, and coastal north regions has ranged between 13 and 25 percent below normal levels; and

Whereas, Drier than average conditions have also begun to affect the water supply in the southwestern region of the State; and

Whereas, On July 25, 2016, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a drought watch for the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren; and

Whereas, On October 5, 2016, the DEP expanded the drought watch to include the counties of Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Monmouth, Ocean, and Salem; and

Whereas, On October 21, 2016, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection signed an administrative order designating a drought warning for 14 counties in the northern and central regions of the State; and

Whereas, Due to the ongoing drought, it is vital for every person throughout the State, including every resident, visitor, business, institution, State agency, and political subdivision, to conserve water; and

Whereas, Furthermore, the ongoing drought makes it urgent that the State employ a coordinated strategy to avoid water shortages in affected areas; and

Whereas, Pursuant to the “Water Supply Management Act,” the DEP proposed and adopted the Statewide Water Supply Plan (plan), and is required by the same law to revise and update the plan at least once every five years, but the plan has not been updated since 1996; and

Whereas, The 1996 plan is unable to properly address current water shortages or make projections for current Statewide and regional water supply demands and is not up-to-date with current Statewide and regional ground and surface water supply sources; and

Whereas, Without an updated plan the State faces an increased risk of drought because water resources are not being managed in accordance with an overarching plan that accounts for how much water is being used and how much water is being replenished; and

Whereas, In 2010, about a third of the State’s 151 watersheds were exceeding water withdrawal limits; and

Whereas, Without appropriate action and intervention to reduce the possibility of a water emergency, a worsening of the current situation could jeopardize the public health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the State; and

Whereas, It is in the best interests of the State that the DEP revise and update the Statewide Water Supply Plan and that every person in the State take appropriate measures to conserve water; now, therefore,

 

     Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    This House respectfully urges the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to revise and update the Statewide Water Supply Plan.

 

     2.    This House respectfully urges the Governor to issue a proclamation calling upon every person throughout the State, including every resident, visitor, business, institution, State agency, and political subdivision, to take appropriate measures to conserve water in order to avoid a water emergency and the need for more restrictive measures on water usage.

 

     3.    Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Secretary of the Senate to the Governor and the Commissioner of Environmental Protection.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This resolution urges the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to revise and update the Statewide Water Supply Plan.  In addition, the resolution urges the Governor to issue a proclamation calling upon every person throughout the State, including every resident, visitor, business, institution, State agency, and political subdivision, to take appropriate measures to conserve water in order to avoid a water emergency and the need for more restrictive measures on water usage.

     The State of New Jersey has experienced extremely dry weather conditions over the past several months.  The lack of rainfall is having adverse impacts on stream flows, shallow groundwater reserves, and runoff into drinking water supply reservoirs.  During the past six months, measured precipitation across the northern and central regions of the State has ranged between 25 and 50 percent below normal levels. 

     On July 25, 2016, the DEP issued a drought watch for the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren.  On October 5, 2016, the DEP expanded the drought watch to include the counties of Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Monmouth, Ocean, and Salem.  On October 21, 2016, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection signed an administrative order designating a drought warning for 14 counties in the northern and central regions of the State. 

     The ongoing drought makes it urgent that the State employ a coordinated strategy to avoid water shortages in affected areas. Pursuant to the “Water Supply Management Act,” the DEP proposed and adopted the Statewide Water Supply Plan (plan), and is required by the same law to revise and update the plan at least once every five years, but the plan has not been updated since 1996.  The 1996 plan is unable to properly address current water shortages.  Without an updated plan the State faces an increased risk of drought because water resources are not being managed in accordance with an overarching plan that accounts for how much water is being used and how much water is being replenished.

     Without appropriate action and intervention to reduce the possibility of a water emergency, a worsening of the current situation could jeopardize the public health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the State.