Wednesday, December 13, 2023
8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Value of Water | New Jersey Edition
Exploring Shared Services: Why, How, Examples
For communities struggling to manage their water systems, shared services programs can help reduce costs and improve service delivery. This session will offer an overview of the Local Efficiency Achievement Program (LEAP) grants offered by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The grant provides funding for local governments to advance shared services efforts. Join this conversation and learn more about how utilities can pull their resources together, share technical expertise, and leverage their shared capacities to increase efficiencies and lower costs. The session will begin with a short presentation by a local artist, who uses her art to engage others in thinking about water and environmental issues.
Green & Gray: Solutions to Manage Stormwater and CSOs
Does your community experience flooding and impaired waterways? The updated Tier A MS4 and CSO Permits in NJ are regulatory drivers to manage stormwater and implement green infrastructure. Join expert panelists to learn more about policies, innovative projects, and approaches to managing stormwater from municipal, utility, and regional perspectives.
Pathways to Funding Climate Resilient Projects
As the impacts of climate change get worse, New Jersey’s communities need to prepare accordingly. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is implementing new laws and regulations to ensure municipalities are addressing the impacts of climate change. However, local governments often lack the capacity and resources to plan and implement climate resilience initiatives and projects effectively. How are the DEP’s new laws and regulations going to impact local governments? How can communities better prepare for the effects of climate change? What types of funding sources are available for climate resilience planning and projects? How can these funding sources be best accessed? Learn from leaders in the field working on solutions to these challenges.
Communicating the Value of Water
Not only do we share “one water”, we share the same water as the generations before us. Our current generation has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve our water systems, due to unprecedented federal funding, to positively impact the quality, management, and accessibility of water for generations to come. This session will explore the commonalities and differences in communicating issues facing watersheds, utilities, and municipalities as they manage water quality, water management, and flooding while increasing public engagement and awareness. This breakout session will function as an open dialogue between panelists and session participants to better share experiences and resources across platforms and audiences as we work together to share the responsibility of managing our “one water” in harmony.
Partnering to Advance Water Workforce Initiatives in New Jersey
To develop and improve the water workforce, it’s crucial to involve a wide range of organizations. This includes utility executives, educational institutions, career centers, and community-based organizations. Partnering with these groups is vital for gaining valuable information, knowledge, and insights. By seeking their input on existing resources, requirements, challenges, and opportunities, we can ensure that initiatives are well-informed. The session will feature information about the Water Workforce Utility Pilot Project at Hudson County Community College and the Emerging Water Leaders Leadership Circle. Jersey Water Works members are collaborating with partners to advance water workforce development. Learn more!
Let’s Talk About PFAs and Other Contaminants
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large class of human-made forever chemicals that have significant health impacts and contaminating water sources. New Jersey’s water and sewer systems face multiple converging needs -legacy issues such as aging infrastructure, lead, and combined sewer overflows along with new threats such as PFAS and climate change. Although we may have more questions than solutions when it comes to PFAS, it’s essential to start somewhere and find opportunities to collaborate where relevant. We invite you to learn more about PFAS, hear from state and utility sector representatives on the work already happening, and be part of a collaborative problem solving vision. This roundtable discussion provides an opportunity to get some high level perspectives on the issue of PFAS.
Welcome by Andy Kricun and Nicole Miller, JWW Steering Committee co-chairs
TCNJ Welcome by Michael A. Bernstein Ph.D., TCNJ President
Keynote: Water 2050: Charting a Course for a Safe and Sustainable Water Future
In the next 30 years, the most salient environmental and social issues will involve water: who has it, who doesn’t, is it safe, is it affordable, how it is managed and by whom. It is crucial to envision the future and analyze the forces that shape it to help the water community plan and be proactive. The American Water Works Association’s Water 2050 initiative aims to create a long-term vision for the future of water. This collaborative initiative is charting a course for a secure and sustainable water sector by engaging in meaningful conversations, enlisting strategic partners, fostering intergenerational responsibility, and capturing collective knowledge, all leading to a strategy and implementation plan. Dr. Joe Jacangelo, Vice President, Director of Research at Stantec, Immediate Past President of AWWA (2023-2024), and faculty member at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will share more about the AWWA’s Water 2050 initiative and his thoughts about the future of water.
Return on Investment, Daniel J. Van Abs, PhD, FAICP/PP, Rutgers University
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of water to New Jersey’s health, economy, and quality of life. The water we drink, swim in, boat on, and use in manufacturing is essential to our state’s very being. Jersey Water Works (JWW) members believe that smart infrastructure builds strong communities and share one overarching vision: to transform New Jersey’s water infrastructure. We know that only through collaboration can this vision be achieved. This sentiment aligns with the Water 2050 collaborative initiative led by AWWA in which suggests that we need to “create a culture in which everyone has a personal connection to water and a sense of shared responsibility for it.” Local and elected officials have a crucial role to play in managing water infrastructure and stormwater, and so do educators, researchers, utility staff, and community organizers. There is no limit to the possibilities that we can achieve together, based on our shared knowledge, experience, and networks. Conversation around this roundtable will be centered around the theme of the conference, The Value of Water | New Jersey Edition. How can we help the public better understand the complexity of the value of water and get behind in making sound decisions today that will impact generations to come?
|*The Value of Water Campaign is supported by top leaders from across the water industry committed to raising awareness about the importance of water and the often invisible water challenges threatening our country (US Water Alliance).
** Final agenda will include breakout session descriptions and presenter information.