Section: Words and phrases defined
The Legislature hereby finds and determines that-- (a) Adequate supplies of wholesome water are essential to the health, welfare, commerce and prosperity of the people of the State. Such supplies will be best developed by long-range plans, to be put into effect in stages during a period of years. The formulation and execution of such plans cannot safely be allowed to wait until the shortage of water in the State becomes critical in all parts of the State. (b) The needs of the State's growing population and expanding industrial development require the establishment of new and additional water supply facilities; the planning for and, subject to specific authorization by law, the acquisition of sites for the establishment of future water supply facilities; and a continuing program of studies and investigations to determine the resources and potentials for development of the ground waters of the State. (c) There is an immediate need for a new major supply of water to meet the present acute water requirements in the northeastern metropolitan counties and in the Raritan Valley, areas which directly and indirectly affect the commerce and prosperity of the entire State. (d) The existing water sources in the Hackensack, Passaic, Rockaway, Wanaque and Pequannock rivers have been and are now being developed to the reasonable limit of the capacity of these rivers by municipalities and water companies in the northeastern region of New Jersey. Well supplies in this region have also approached their limit of practicable development. (e) Delaware Valley water supplies can ultimately be made available for New Jersey's long-range needs. Such supplies are dependent on a comprehensive survey now being conducted by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, on a United States Supreme Court decision to establish the rights of the several States involved and on joint legislation of and co-operation between New Jersey and neighboring States. (f) The Raritan river basin is the only area where large quantities of additional water can be obtained immediately and economically to serve the northeastern metropolitan counties as well as the counties in the Raritan Valley. This basin is about equal in size to the Passaic river basin, is wholly within the State, is reasonably close to the counties needing water and is virtually undeveloped for water supply. (g) The establishment of an on-river reservoir at Spruce Run will provide additional water supply from the Raritan river basin, provide a source of water to fill the reservoir at Round Valley, and provide increased and sustained minimum flows in the south branch downstream thereof and in the Raritan river. The combined development of an off-river reservoir in the Round Valley area now under acquisition by the State for reservoir purposes with the smaller and cheaper on-river reservoir at Spruce Run will provide water supply storage for delivery of water in pipelines at the user's expense to areas within and without the Raritan river basin for areas desiring that type of supply as well as stream flow regulation for multiple use to serve areas, both within and without the basin, which prefer to obtain their supply at less initial cost from stream channels nearer to the area of demand. Water from the reservoirs will also be available for local use. The increased and sustained minimum flows will improve the quality of the water in the river, will tend to reduce the salinity in the tidal reaches, and will improve the upper river and its tributaries for recreational purposes. Water for filling the reservoirs will not interfere with the higher sustained low flow specified by law and will not in any event adversely or otherwise affect the storage of water impounded in upstream lakes. (h) The provisions proposed for the development of water storage facilities on the Raritan river basin are also applicable, with minor modifications, to the conservation and development of the ground-water resources of the South Jersey Coastal Plain and elsewhere in favorable areas throughout the State to provide storage and tide dam facilities to create artificial recharge of ground-water aquifers in areas of heavy pumpage and to protect such areas from surface pollution and salt water intrusion. They also provide a basis for State participation in the long-range, authorization plan now under study by the United States Army Corps of Engineers for the development of the water resources of the interstate Delaware river basin. (i) It is therefore in the interest of the health, safety and prosperity of the people of the State as a whole, that immediate legislative action be taken towards making provision for storage facilities to augment natural water resources to make available an adequate supply of water for the most critical need and in addition provide for a long-range program for development, as shall be required, of the remaining water resources of the State. L.1958, c. 34, p. 94, s. 2.
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