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An NJ Spotlight Roundtable: Tackling New Jersey's Water Woes -- What's Next?

New Jersey is saddled with an aging water infrastructure, a problem that makes it increasingly difficult to deliver clean drinking water -- and to prevent hundreds of outdated wastewater treatment plants from contaminating water supplies. This NJ Spotlight conference examined the issues in detail and charted possible solutions

This NJ Spotlight Conference focused on issues facing the state's water infrastructure: how to cope with aging systems for delivering clean water to residents and businesses; how to make much-needed improvements to the hundreds of wastewater treatment plants discharging into the state's waterways; and how to recognize and address the broader forces that can affect the future of New Jersey's clean water.

New Jersey's water systems revealed the extent of their vulnerability during Hurricane Sandy, suffering $2.6 billion in damage. But even before the superstorm, the needs were daunting. A blue-ribbon panel last year recommended that New Jersey invest $44 billion over the next five years to address problems with its water infrastructure.

In addition to two panel discussions featuring government officials, environmental advocates, and experts, a keynote address was delivered by Daniel Van Abs, an associate professor at Rutgers University and lead investigator of a recent report on the state of water infrastructure in New Jersey.

Session 1: Fixing New Jersey's Water Systems
A blue-ribbon panel last year recommended New Jersey invest $44 billion over the next five years to address problems with its water infrastructure. This discussion addressed issues related to those problems, including needed upgrades, increased funding, impending federal mandates, and securing New Jersey's economic competitiveness.
PANELISTS: Kate Anderson, Chief, Environmental Protection Agency Region 2, Clean Water Regulatory Branch; Charles Norkis, Executive Director, Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority; Christopher Riat, Senior Director, Contract Operations, United Water; Chris Sturm, Senior Director of State Policy, New Jersey Future
Session 2: Drinking Water -- Will We Have Enough?
New Jersey has not updated its water supply master plan in years. In the meantime, parts of the state are facing deficits, and supplies are threatened from overdevelopment. This discussion looked at the threats to ensuring clean water for state residents and businesses.
PANELISTS: Pam Carolan, Executive Director, Mount Laurel Township Municipal Utilities Authority; Tim Dillingham, Executive Director, American Littoral Society; L. Stanton Hales, Program Director, Barnegat Bay Partnership; Senator Bob Smith, Chair, New Jersey Senate Environment & Energy Committee; Daniel Van Abs, Associate Professor at Rutgers University and Former Senior Director For Planning and Science at Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council
Keynote Address
Daniel Van Abs, Lead investigator on Water Infrastructure in New Jersey’s CSO Cities
Elevating the Importance of Upgrading New Jersey’s Urban Water Systems, a companion to New Jersey Future's report, Ripple Effects. Van Abs also is associate professor at Rutgers University and former senior director For planning and science at Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council.

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