By Dave Ragazzo
There are many valuable assets in the New Jersey Highlands region. The region covers eighty-eight townships in the state, covers most of the northwestern portion of New Jersey, and is home to hundreds of different species of animals and other wildlife. However, there is one thing that the Highlands provides that is most essential to the people living in New Jersey, and without this there would be millions of residents that would be affected.
The water supply that the New Jersey Highlands provides is crucial to the state functioning properly. It is a critical source for drinking water for about 5.4 million people in New Jersey spanning over ten counties. Because of these stats, it is easy to say that the New Jersey Highlands is an important tool for survival in the Garden State.
Although there has been great progress over the years, this is still an issue that needs to be addressed every year because of the vast number of people that it affects. As of 2009, of the 183 sub-watersheds in this region 114 of these watersheds had pollution problems that were threatening the water supply throughout the state. This could be a problem for the present and future of New Jersey’s water supply.
The New Jersey Highlands Regional master plan has many protections to make sure the water supply stays fresh and no one in the state is receiving polluted water from this region. The plan has come a long way since it was initially drafted in 2006 and now has many protections of the water it distributes throughout the state. One of the major protections that the Regional Master Plan provides is for groundwater recharge and wellhead protection areas. Groundwater recharge is the way that the region makes sure that all surface water is filtered through the aquifers, while wellhead protection areas prevent development in the area that could potentially pollute the water.
The Regional Master Plan is the vision of what the future could hold for this very important environmental region. It is there to determine the amount of growth and development the region can maintain while keeping a special focus on the water supply that it provides. Because water is an essential part to human life, it is an essential part of the Highlands master plan. If the Regional Master Plan was not in place, there is a good chance that the water that many of New Jersey’s residents drink would be polluted or not the best it could possibly be.