March 20, 2019

“Raising the Region’s Water IQ” On UN’s World Water Day

To the Editor:

The United Nations is marking March 22 as World Water Day with the message of leaving no one behind in its global campaign for clean, safe drinking water that is available when needed for all. At the local level, The Watershed Institute will be marking this campaign on Saturday, March 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with events and programs for all ages that focus on our local water and natural environment. We believe that the best way to improve local stewardship of our water is to raise local awareness. We call this “Raising the Region’s Water IQ.”

We are so fortunate to live in a place where clean, safe tap water is so abundant and such an incredible resource that is often taken for granted. Many people don’t know that the vast majority of our drinking water comes from our local rivers, including the Stony Brook, Millstone, and Delaware. The other source is groundwater which has percolated from the surface.

These days, we should recommit ourselves to various strategies to preserve water quality in this region. Our drinking water is affected by human activities, including pesticides, fertilizers, spilled oil, pet waste, and other pollution that is carried into our waterways during storms. This polluted stormwater must be managed to help control flooding and treated before it becomes our drinking water.

Currently, the Watershed is working with the municipality of Princeton to further strengthen its Stormwater Ordinance to capture polluted stormwater runoff from redevelopment projects, and is also part of a coalition that is urging Governor Murphy to sign into law the Flood Defense Act. Recently passed by the state legislature, this act would permit the creation of “stormwater utilities” that would manage stormwater on a regional or local level rather than on a lot-by-lot or development-by-development basis as is done currently. Funding for stormwater utilities would come from an assessment on impervious ground cover instead of from local taxes.

The Watershed Institute is celebrating its 70th year of protecting your water and local environment this year. Join in the celebration on March 23 as we recognize World Water Day!

Scott Sillars
Patton Avenue
Chair, Board of Trustees
The Watershed Institute