The Jersey Water Works Collaborative
The Power of Collaboration: We can do more by working together to solve this complex problem than any individual or organization can achieve on their own.
New Jersey Future receives a grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to research issues related to forthcoming NJDEP permits for 21 cities with combined sewer systems and to organize a convening of thought leaders.
New Jersey Future receives support from the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread to facilitate and host the convening in 2014. NJF begins outreach interviews.
New Jersey Future produces two research reports stressing the urgency and scope of the problem, as well as evaluating the opportunity to strengthen communities by modernizing and greening their infrastructure: Water Infrastructure in New Jersey’s CSO Cities, by Rutgers water expert Daniel Van Abs Ph.D., and Ripple Effects, by New Jersey Future.
In mid-2014, two dozen thought leaders gather to craft an actionable response to the reports’ findings. They adopt a shared purpose and a month later publish an Agenda for Change with guiding principles and action steps to catalyze the transformation of water infrastructure.
New Jersey Future begins organizing committees to advance the agenda.
New Jersey Future realizes that the scale of the problem calls for a different level of response. The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation commits to supporting a collective impact approach and provides its first large grant to enable a capable backbone organization.
New Jersey Future recruits 25 people to form the collaborative’s first steering committee. NJF staff move into a background role as “backbone staff.”
Participants adopt a name, logo and tagline, shared goals, and operating procedures.
In December 2015, leaders launch Jersey Water Works with twelve goals and a common purpose: to repair the state’s inadequate water infrastructure and ensure sustainable, healthy communities.
Backbone staff solidify the Jersey Water Works (JWW) collaborative infrastructure, including a website, communications platform for members, newsletters, and a summer membership meeting.
Five working committees adopt a 2016 work plan and meet throughout the year.
The collaborative is recognized with a Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award. Nearly 300 attendees celebrate progress at the Second Annual Jersey Water Works Conference.
The Steering Committee launches a strategic planning process to identify the biggest systemic obstacles and the “priority solutions” needed to overcome them. The result is released in Our Water Transformed at the third annual JWW conference.
JWW develops partnerships with water associations, such as by forming the One Water Awards.
Backbone staff coordinates testimony by JWW members to the Joint Legislative Task Force on Drinking Water Infrastructure, which culminates in a final report reflecting JWW priorities.
Membership tops 480 and newsletter recipients top 3,058.
JWW coordinates a 34-member New Jersey delegation to the U.S. Water Alliance.
JWW members make 42 public commitments to advance the collaborative’s goals.
The new Murphy administration’s Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) picks clean water as a top priority. The Steering Committee meets with Commissioner McCabe and her staff.
The Steering Committee holds a retreat on equity and identifies processes and committee projects that can help ensure JWW meets the needs of all New Jersians.
The JWW Lead in Drinking Water Task Force recommendations make front page headlines in October. Governor Murphy joins the JWW press conference to announce a comprehensive lead initiative. Legislators introduce bills that largely mirror the task force recommendations.
JWW is featured at national conferences and webinars hosted by the US Water Alliance, WaterNOW, and the National Academy of Sciences.
JWW produces data on water affordability, combined sewer plans, and more in preparation for launching the nation’s first statewide data dashboard, Jersey Water Check.
JWW members raise funds for cities and towns to create stormwater utilities, and for grassroots groups to organize around CSOs, lead poisoning, and more.
JWW urges the governor to adopt a moratorium on water shut offs during the pandemic, and his administration orchestrates a voluntary statewide utility moratorium.