The Watershed Institute applauds Gov. Phil Murphy for signing into law today the Flood Defense Act, which passed the Legislature earlier this year. This vital legislation gives local governments an important new tool to combat flooding and water pollution that damages our streams, roads, and properties.
The Watershed and other environmental advocates have long championed the need for stormwater utility legislation. The Flood Defense Act authorizes local governments to create a stormwater utility, which raises funds to manage flooding and polluted runoff. This is all the more important as the intense storms caused by climate change result in heavier rains, flooding and excess water.
Stormwater utilities are systems used effectively in 40 other states, but until now have not been permitted for use in New Jersey. Now local governments can determine if a stormwater utility is the right solution for their local problems.
This spring, The Watershed Institute will hold a conference to help local officials learn about stormwater utilities and determine if this is the right approach for their communities.
“We know that polluted stormwater runoff is the leading cause of flooding and degraded waterways,” said Jim Waltman, executive director of The Watershed Institute. “The existing approaches just aren’t making a dent in this problem. We’re delighted we can combat polluted stormwater runoff in earnest now with this new tool.”