|TRENTON, June 30, 2022 — Water is an essential resource to all New Jerseyans, and access to clean water is a crucial ingredient in building healthy communities across the state. With the release of the New Jersey State Budget Fiscal Year 2023, elected officials have allocated $300 million to water infrastructure and taken a big step forward.
“Too many New Jersey households and children are drinking water tainted with lead. Because water touches every single New Jersey household, business, and industry, it is imperative we prioritize solving the lingering problems of our past in order to promote healthy, resilient communities for our state’s future,” commented New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach.
“The state budget demonstrates the commitment of the Governor and Legislature to achieve clean waterways and flood-safe communities. Their leadership puts New Jersey on a path to solving these issues once and for all,” said New Jersey Future Senior Advisor Chris Sturm.
“But water systems will need much more state funding to meet requirements to remove emerging contaminants and lead from drinking water, fix combined sewer systems, and manage stormwater – without imposing unaffordable rate increases. We estimate the five-year water funding gap at $5.7 billion and call on state leaders to invest an additional $700 million in water infrastructure from remaining federal funds,” continued Sturm.
“The time to act swiftly is now,” added New Jersey Future Community Outreach Manager Mo Kinberg. “We are trying to solve legacy environmental justice issues and fortify our state’s most overburdened communities. Historically underserved communities are exposed unjustly to multiple threats related to water infrastructure, whether known harmful toxins in drinking water or threat of harmful bacterial flood waters resulting from combined sewage flooding and climate-related extreme weather events, like Hurricane Ida last year. The $300 million allocated for water infrastructure in New Jersey’s state budget is a step toward taking the cost of water pipe modernization and combined sewer overflow upgrades off the backs of ratepayers. We are poised as a state to make major progress on water issues, which will go a long way in establishing a fair and equitable baseline of water quality and community security in the face of challenges ahead.”
Earlier this year, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection listed 679 water infrastructure projects in need of approximately $6 billion in funding. The $300 million in state funding in the state budget is expected to be paired with the $1 billion for water infrastructure received from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. New Jersey Future has been proud to lead the Clean Water, Healthy Families, Good Jobs campaign, working closely with labor, environmental, community, and businesses groups to close the clean water funding gap.