The urgency of the water-infrastructure problem in New Jersey’s older cities and towns cannot be overstated. Water systems in some areas are more than 100 years old, with pipes that leak or break, and are unable to handle the increasing volume that comes with successful urban revitalization.

New Jersey’s water infrastructure needs $25 billion in upgrades over the next 20 years. What can we do about it?

Jersey Water Works is a collaborative effort of many diverse organizations and individuals who embrace the common purpose of transforming 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.

The Power of Collaboration

We can do more by working together to solve this complex problem than any individual or organization working alone can do.

Jersey Water Works’ Shared Goals

Jersey Water Works’ shared goals are end states the collaborative aims to help achieve over the next three to five years. The 2020 Work Plan is executed by the collaborative’s committees. The projects will advance best practices, better stakeholder engagement, and affordability for all ratepayers, among other goals. which will outline the steps the collaborative’s committees are taking towards accomplishing the shared goals. Review Jersey Water Works’ past work and accomplishments

Why Water Infrastructure Matters to New Jersey 

We all consume water and create waste, but seldom think about the underlying pipes, sewers, and utilities that sustain our water usage. Yet our lives depend upon clean drinking water, and robust wastewater and stormwater infrastructure systems support local, economies, create strong communities, and protect our environment. Learn more about why water infrastructure matters to New Jersey, what it means for New Jersey’s communities, how smart water investments expand economic opportunities and how common-sense innovations can lower costs.

How We Started

A series of reports released early in 2014 details the extent of unmet need across water infrastructure in New Jersey’s cities. Following the publication of Ripple Effects, a group of thought leaders from a variety of sectors with an interest in solving this problem convened to develop an Agenda for Change, which became the guiding document for the collaborative. The collaborative built its own leadership team and formed a working group and various committees to begin to address some of the items on the Agenda for Change. In early 2015, the group established its 2015 Objectives and in December of that year, Jersey Water Works, announced its leadership, members, shared goals and key accomplishments at the inaugural New Jersey Urban Water conference. Late in 2015 the group officially branded itself as Jersey Water Works.


Ripple Effects

This report explores urban water infrastructure in two ways:
Part 1: The State of Water Infrastructure in New Jersey Cities
Part 2: Why Water Infrastructure Matters – Stories From Four Cities


An Agenda for Change

Twenty-one participants from diverse perspectives met in Jersey City on May 20-21, 2014, to build consensus on an Agenda for Change to catalyze the transformation of New Jersey’s urban water infrastructure (water supply, wastewater and stormwater). The group established Guiding Principles for improving urban water infrastructure, identified the Drivers for Action and recommended a set of Action Steps to stimulate progress.


Water Infrastructure in New Jersey’s CSO Cities: Elevating the Importance of Upgrading New Jersey’s Urban Water Systems

This report was developed by Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey team led by Daniel J. Van Abs Ph.D. PP AICP. It focuses on the 21 New Jersey municipalities that have combined sewer systems and examines issues regarding water supply and wastewater capacity for these municipalities. Water and Sewer System Ownership and Management Map: A detailed review of water and sewer system ownership and management, including collection systems and treatment plants, in New Jersey CSO municipalities.


Charting New Waters
Developing an Agenda for Change for New Jersey’s Urban Water Infrastructure

In May 2014, The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread partnered with New Jersey Future and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to convene a diverse group of New Jersey leaders to develop an agenda for change aimed at catalyzing action to address urban water infrastructure challenges in the state. The convening resulted in two products: 1) a three-page consensus Agenda for Change for New Jersey’s Urban Water Infrastructure, which captured the collective priorities of the group, and 2) this report, which elaborates upon the consensus document and presents The Johnson Foundation’s synthesis of the broader range of information, insights and ideas shared during the convening.

Primary financial support for the backbone administration of Jersey Water Works comes from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Many other foundations and others support the work and its many members.

Photo credit: New Jersey Infrastructure Bank



Sign up to receive a monthly newsletter with updates on the collaborative’s efforts to upgrade New Jersey’s inadequate water infrastructure.

Sign Up Now