Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station [Water Resources Program]

Water Resources for Sustainable Communities

“Sustainability” or “Sustainable Development” has been defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” - The United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (The Brundtland Commission, 1987).

ringsSustainability has often been represented by the symbol on the right. Each ring represents one of the three systems that support our civilization: the economy, the environment, and our society. Each of these rings overlaps (i.e., influences, or is affected by) the other two. For a community to be sustainable, each of these systems must be healthy and in balance with the others.

Many municipalities across the State of New Jersey are starting to make a difference when it comes to securing a sustainable future.  Other municipalities know that becoming a sustainable community is important, but they are unsure about how to get started.  In response to this need, the Water Resources Program has developed a program to assist municipalities with improving their water resources infrastructure and the environment, while reducing maintenance costs and helping them move forward in their quest to become a “Sustainable Community.”  

There are three areas where the Water Resources Program is offering services to municipalities:

1) Stormwater Management ,

2) Drinking Water Conservation and Protection, and

3) Wastewater Management. 


The Water Resources Program is one of many specialty programs under Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The goal of the Water Resources Program is to provide solutions for many of the water quality and quantity issues facing New Jersey. For this effort to help municipalities become sustainable communities, we can provide assessments to identify the water resources needs of the municipality and develop solutions to address these needs.  For stormwater management issues, we can design innovative best management practices for areas where stormwater controls are needed, and we can design retrofits for existing facilities to improve their pollutant removal efficiencies and reduce the cost of maintenance.  For drinking water conservation issues, we offer educational programs for K-12 students, as well as adults.  We also work with communities to promote the use of water conservation devices and smart controls for irrigation systems.  For wastewater issues, we can help municipalities develop onsite wastewater treatment system management programs and help municipalities identify opportunities for reuse of treated wastewater.

All of the Water Resources Program staff are grant-funded, and the program is able to keep costs low by incorporating students into their research and design projects.  The Water Resources Program has been very successful in the past with receiving grants to work on projects with municipalities, and the program plans to use that experience to work with a greater number of municipalities to build projects and determine new strategies to help meet the needs of water resources management in the 21st century.

For more information, please contact Sean Walsh, Program Associate at