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Source Water Protection

Source Water Protection (SWP) has long been recognized as one of the most effective means for ensuring long-term viability of water supply and maintenance of water quality. In recent years, the New Jersey Water Supply Authority (Authority) created and instituted a comprehensive SWP program consisting of two primary components: the Watershed Protection Programs Division and the Land and Resource Preservation Program.Pelio

The Watershed Protection Programs Division was created to protect the water resources in the watersheds of the Raritan River, the Manasquan River, and the Delaware & Raritan Canal. The Land and Resource Preservation Program was designed to identify, acquire, and manage critical watershed parcels toward protection of water supply.

Land Preservation and Management

In 2001, the Authority launched the Spruce Run Initiative (SRI) to preserve critical watershed properties in the vicinity of the Spruce Run Reservoir. The SRI involved outreach to landowners within the Spruce Run watershed, exploring the possibilities of Authority-led acquisition of critical parcels. This outreach was guided by the Watershed Protection Programs' report, Preservation of Critical Areas in the Spruce Run Reservoir Watersheds, as well as GIS-based critical area mapping provided by the Watershed Protection Programs. Since that time, the Authority expanded its land preservation efforts to include lands within the watersheds of the North and South Branches of the Raritan River as well as the Lockatong and Wickecheoke watersheds, utilizing the WPP's critical area mapping as a tool for identifying target properties.

The Authority has formed partnerships with non-profit, municipal, County, State, and Federal entities to maximize its watershed acquisitions. The Authority, along with its partners, has taken a strategic approach at preservation with the intention of creating contiguous areas of preserved open space. In addition, these partnerships have allowed the Authority to cost-share, and to designate management of properties to other entities who wish to utilize the properties for mutually acceptable purposes.

Funding Source Water Protection

The Authority instituted a Source Water Protection (SWP) rate component on July 1, 2002 to fund the SWP program. Since that time, the Authority has utilized this dedicated portion of the rate, paid by water customers, to assist in protection and preservation of critical watershed properties. To our knowledge, the Authority is the first entity in the State to utilize ratepayer funds for preservation purposes.
This ongoing source of dedicated funds allows the Authority to finance land acquisitions through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT) at very favorable interest rates. The NJEIT is a low interest loan program available to public entities for, among other things, the acquisition of properties benefiting drinking water quality.open space acquisition


To date, the Authority and its partners have participated in the preservation of nearly 4,000 acres of critical watershed property, valued at more than $77,000,000. Of those acres, 316 acres are held as conservation easements on agricultural lands. The Authority has forged successful partnerships with 36 different entities, both for cost sharing and management responsibilities on preserved parcels.

Program Year Acreage Total Purchase Price Authority's Contribution to Purchase Price Authority's  Contribution to Soft Costs
2003 677 $5,644,000 $811,675 $67,157
2004 564 $6,955,386 $1,179,312 $206,907
2005 706 $10,958,561 $2,440,833 $88,245
2006 292 $12,448,768 $2,305,143 $98,359
2007 289 $5,417,500 $2,015,000 $107,669
2008 286 $11,000,000 $1,400,000 $4,481
2009 92 $905,812 $452,906 $37,748
2010 501 $11,474,742 $1,784,531 $61,327
2011 423 $10,060,500 $1,689,150 $31,219
2012 126 $2,382,949 $506,540 $6,952
Total 3,956 $77,248,218 $14,585,090 $710,064

Municipal partners:

Borough of Califon (Hunterdon County)
Borough of High Bridge (Hunterdon County)
Township of Chester (Morris County)
Township of Clinton (Hunterdon County)
Township of Bedminster (Somerset County)
Township of Bethlehem (Hunterdon County)
Township of Delaware (Hunterdon County)
Township of Franklin (Hunterdon County)
Township of Kingwood (Hunterdon County)
Township of Lebanon (Hunterdon County)
Township of Mendham (Morris County)
Township of Raritan (Hunterdon County)
Township of Roxbury (Morris County)
Township of Union (Hunterdon County)
Township of Washington (Morris County)

County partners:

Hunterdon County Open Space Trust Fund
Hunterdon County Department of Parks and Recreation
Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority
Morris County Open Space Trust Fund
Morris County Park Commission

Agency partners:

Natural Resources Conservation Service
NJDEP Division of Parks & Forestry
NJDEP Division of Fish & Wildlife
NJDEP Green Acres Program
New Jersey State Agriculture Development Committee
North Jersey Resource Conservation & Development Council

Non-profit partners:

D&R Greenway Land Trust
Hunterdon Land Trust
New Jersey Audubon Society
New Jersey Conservation Foundation
Raritan Headwaters Association
Schiff Natural Lands Trust
Tewksbury Land Trust
The Land Conservancy of New Jersey
The Trust for Public Land
Washington Township Land Trust

For more information on the NJWSA's Land and Resource Preservation Program, contact Julie Anne Shelley, Property Administrator, at (908) 638-6121 x260 or preservation@njswa.org.

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