Today at the annual meeting of the Association of Environmental Authorities, five partner organizations sponsoring the annual New Jersey One Water Awards announced three winners of the 2019 awards, each exemplifying innovative approaches to the water challenges facing New Jersey.
The New Jersey One Water Awards honor projects that demonstrate great water management and illustrate the One Water ideal by valuing and making use of all water, whether it’s drinking water, stormwater, or wastewater. The awards program is sponsored by five organizations: American Water Resources Association’s New Jersey section, American Water Works Association’s New Jersey section, Association of Environmental Authorities, Jersey Water Works, and New Jersey Water Environment Association.
Receiving a 2019 One Water Award are:
“The One Water Awards are a great way to showcase the diverse initiatives that organizations are taking throughout the state to value water. By recognizing this year’s One Water Award winners, we’re recognizing the importance of community involvement and partnership in water resource management in critical areas throughout New Jersey,” said Charles Norkis, retired executive director of the Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority. Mr. Norkis is a returning One Water Awards juror, and retired Board Director of the Association for Environmental Authorities.
“Our state’s water challenges have broad-reaching impacts on our cities and towns, which is why it’s so important to highlight projects that are valuing water as a precious resource,” said Virginia Michelin, principal environmental planner in the Morris County Office of Planning and Preparation, and a past president of the New Jersey section of the American Water Resources Association. “Sustainable water management helps communities thrive, and this year’s One Water Award winners are great examples of that. The winners are embracing water’s interconnectedness and working closely with their communities to achieve economic, environmental, and social benefits.”
“This year we decided on a tie in the public category; both programs reflect the One Water approach in very different ways. The problems they address are significant in New Jersey’s water sector, and each winner approaches One Water from a different angle to meet multiple needs,” said Jerome Harris, P.E., who represented the New Jersey Water Environment Association, and is a Project Manager at CME Associates in Parlin, N.J.
Mara Tippett, watershed scientist at Raritan Headwaters Association, said, “As a new juror, I was pleased to see the diversity of entries for this year’s award. My organization’s mission is to protect clean water in our rivers, streams, and homes, and the One Water Awards align perfectly with that. The winners really understand what it means to value water, and are making a real difference in New Jersey.”
A panel of independent jurors from different parts of the water sector judge the awards. This year’s jurors included:
“It’s good to see new projects that organizations across the state are working on to address water issues. We received a wide range of applicants, which represents the work New Jersey organizations are doing to practice more sustainable water management strategies,” said Joseph Stanley, who represented AWWA-NJ. “This year’s winners show that community engagement and collaboration can really make a difference for One Water projects in solving local water challenges.”
The One Water Awards were inaugurated in 2017 by Jersey Water Works, the Association of Environmental Authorities, and the New Jersey section of the American Water Works Association as a vehicle for highlighting projects and organizations that exemplify the One Water concept – that all water, regardless of source or use, has value that can be unlocked by implementing sustainable, inclusive, and integrated water resource management practices.
In its first two years, the New Jersey One Water Awards have recognized a variety of innovative and sustainable water management strategies, including a pipe repair project, a flood mitigation park, a wetland wastewater treatment system, a commercial-scale indoor farming facility, a township’s holistic water management approach, and a community-driven stormwater management initiative. The program is now in its third year, and its 2019 winners have been announced.
Jennifer Brunton, the jury chair, said, “We’re grateful that our sponsors are engaged in all aspects of the water sector. The jury selected this year’s winners by looking for projects that reflect the priorities of the communities they serve, while tackling issues through collaboration. By practicing integrated water management and approaching water issues holistically, the winners show how cross-sector collaboration and community involvement are creating equitable, healthy, safe places.”
Awards will be presented at Jersey Water Works’ upcoming conference on December 13, 2019, and honorees will be recognized at the American Water Resources Association New Jersey section conference on December 6, 2019, the American Water Works Association conference on March 19 – 21, 2020, and the New Jersey Water Environment Association conference on May 11 – 15, 2020.