New Jersey Water Science Center
Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson, N.J.
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NJ Highlands Water Resources Assessment
Project Title: NJ Highlands Water Resources Assessment
The overall objective of this project is to assist the New Jersey Highlands Council in the development of the Regional Master Plan by providing the hydrologic data and interpretation necessary for a comprehensive assessment of Highlands watersheds with an emphasis on water supply availability, quality and demand.
Statement of Problem
The Highlands region of New Jersey provides drinking water, forests, and irreplaceable wildlife habitat as well as recreational opportunities for millions. The Highlands are the source of water for more than 5.6 million people in New Jersey. Undisturbed forests protect water quality in Highlands’ reservoirs, watersheds, aquifers, and streams, reducing the need for costly treatment facilities and preventing downstream flooding and soil erosion. The Highlands have been changing in ways that threaten to degrade and disrupt these valuable resources.
Strategy and Approach
The water resources assessment of the New Jersey Highlands Region will be accomplished through a comprehensive hydrologic analysis of subwatersheds at the HUC-14 scale. There are 185 HUC-14 watersheds in the Highlands Planning and Preservation areas ranging in size from approximately 8 to 27 mi2. The assessment shall include a compilation of existing ground and surface water data, including ground water and surface water quality, ground and surface water use, climate data, HUC-14 basin water budget analyses, and a GIS-based analysis of ground water availability. Specific work elements will provide the natural resource assessment.