Q&A: What Keeps Reservoirs from Flooding Your Home (NJ)?

Monksville Reservoir, NJImage via Wikipedia
Question: What laws have been passed to prevent reservoirs from contributing to flooding in New Jersey?

Answer (none)(scan to bottom for Observations):

1996-1997

A2799 Requires DEP to study and assess stream capacity and water usage in areas surrounding Reservoirs, set minimum and maximum levels for each Reservoir, and maintain specific levels at Woodcliff Lake Reservoir.
Identical Bill Number: S2119
A2857 Prohibits the construction or operation of a recycling center for Class B recyclable material within 2,000 yards of a proposed or operational public water supply Reservoir.
Identical Bill Number: S1999
S1162 Requires Wanaque Reservoir to be kept at a level to protect against Wanaque river flooding.
S1999 Prohibits the construction or operation of a recycling center for Class B recyclable material within 2,000 yards of a proposed or operational public water supply Reservoir.
Identical Bill Number: A2857
S2119 Requires DEP to study and assess stream capacity and water usage in areas surrounding Reservoirs, set minimum and maximum levels for each Reservoir, and maintain specific levels at Woodcliff Lake Reservoir.
Identical Bill Number: A2799

*All referred to committee.  None accepted.*

1998-1999
A779 Requires DEP to study and assess stream capacity and water usage in areas surrounding Reservoirs, set minimum and maximum levels for each Reservoir, and maintain specific levels at Woodcliff Lake Reservoir.
Last Session Bill Number: A2799
A2042 Requires DEP to study and assess stream capacity and water usage in areas surrounding Reservoirs and set minimum and maximum levels for each Reservoir; appropriates $200,000 for study.
Identical Bill Number: S1169
S1169 Requires DEP to study and assess stream capacity and water usage in areas surrounding Reservoirs and set minimum and maximum levels for each Reservoir; appropriates $200,000 for study.
Identical Bill Number: A2042

*All withdrawn from consideration, none accepted or referred.*

2000-2001


A3833 Requires DEP to study and assess downstream river or stream capacity of water supply Reservoirs, set minimum and maxium levels for each Reservoir, and require that specific levels be maintained at Woodcliff Lake Reservoir.
Identical Bill Number: S2582
A3934 Requires owners of water supply Reservoirs prone to downstream flooding to implement flood protection programs.
S2582 Requires DEP to study and assess downstream river or stream capacity of water supply Reservoirs, set minimum and maxium levels for each Reservoir, and require that specific levels be maintained at Woodcliff Lake Reservoir.
Identical Bill Number: A3833

*None progressed.*

2002-2003

A396 Requires owners of water supply Reservoirs prone to downstream flooding to implement flood protection programs.
Identical Bill Number: S460
Last Session Bill Number: A3934
A2667 Requires DEP to classify Reservoirs as category one waters.
Identical Bill Number: S1517
S1050 Requires DEP to study and assess downstream river or stream capacity of water supply Reservoirs, set minimum and maxium levels for each Reservoir, and require that specific levels be maintained at Woodcliff Lake Reservoir.
S1517 Requires DEP to classify Reservoirs as category one waters.
Identical Bill Number: A2667

*All referred to committee and subsequently, no action taken.*

2004-2005

A313 Requires owners of water supply Reservoirs prone to downstream flooding to implement flood protection programs.
Last Session Bill Number: A396   S460
A1302 Requires DEP to classify certain Reservoirs and Reservoir feeder streams as category one waters. *
Last Session Bill Number: A2667   S1517
S956 Requires DEP to study and assess downstream river or stream capacity of water supply Reservoirs, set minimum and maximum levels for each Reservoir, and require that specific levels be maintained at Woodcliff Lake Reservoir.
Last Session Bill Number: S1050

All referred to committee and subsequently, no action taken.

2006-2007

A159 Requires owners of water supply Reservoirs prone to downstream flooding to implement flood protection programs.
Last Session Bill Number: A313
A2321 Requires DEP to classify certain Reservoirs and Reservoir feeder streams as category one waters.
Last Session Bill Number: A1302   (1R)

*All referred to committee and subsequently, no action taken.*

2008-2009

*NONE.*

2010-2011

A4287 Requires DEP and owners of Reservoirs to implement certain flood control measures, and authorizes Office of Emergency Management to order lowering of Reservoirs in response to severe weather events.
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/A4500/4287_I1.HTM

A4320 Authorizes Office of Emergency Management to order lowering of Reservoir levels prior to certain severe weather events.
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/A4500/4320_I1.HTM


*Both referred to committee.*

Observations:

None of these bills ever comes out of committee.  In a couple cases the same bill is re-entered session after session with no progress.  The biggest recipient of these disappearing bills is the "Environment and Solid Waste Committee."  In the 2008-2009 session, no reservoir related bills were introduced, which I suspect relates to election issues, though I'm not sure exactly what happened.  It appears that unless a supporter of the reservoir management bills is a member of one of these powerful committees, the chances for a reservoir management bill being passed at all is poor.

At no point since 1996, has a NJ Governor enacted any legislation which specifically and directly dictated management standards for reservoirs, though it's possible standards may have been adopted at a lower level by governmental entities with control of reservoirs.




Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock EnvironmentalHistoric District, and Flood Control Advisory Commissions as well as the author of  "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region.  Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children.  Christopher Lotito Profile

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