|Jersey City Reservoir #3, "The Hidden Jewel" of Jersey City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
If Pequannock residents show a little more pride of late, it's no surprise as for the first time in a while their municipal government has made measurable strides towards a flood solution.
In the latest of a series of back-and-forths between North Jersey's flood-affected and the State Department of Environmental Protection, Pequannock's Mayor Phelan has succeeded in drawing the support of the New Jersey League of Municipalities for reservoir management legislation following a letter sent chastising the League for their non-support.
In early June, the New Jersey League of Municipalities, which lobbies on behalf of member communities, issued a statement indicating their opposition to A-267/S1406 & A-1069, legislation to provide additional measures for reservoir management, which would in turn offer additional flood storage.
What the people of the Passaic Valley want and need is a way to lower the water levels behind dams in advance of a coming tropical storm. At current, reservoir owners refuse to do this, ostensibly hiding behind the claim that reservoirs do not provide flood relief, but many believe that reservoir owners simply care more about selling the water that they store than about possibly saving a few lives or homes in a flood.
Phelan has made the case of reservoir management, stating that Hurricane Floyd in 1999 was in part mitigated by flood storage provided by near empty reservoirs (the result of a drought), whereas reservoirs prior to Hurricane Irene were nearly full to capacity.
The next step will be to get members of the Homeland Security and Environmental & Solid Waste Committees with the New Jersey Legislature to release reservoir management bills which have been submitted to their committees for consideration. At the June 26th Council meeting, Phelan presented a new letter which requests just that.
In addition to progress made in flood control, Pequannock can also look forward to having a representative of the NJ LoM's Legislative Analysis Committee for the first time in history, an additional responsibility Mayor Phelan has agreed to take on at the request of the League.
Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock Historic District, Open Space, 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