NEW JERSEY – For the second year in a row, New Jersey passed a budget which honors the state’s full, “fair share” commitment for the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) in the amount of $893,000.
Advocating for the restoration of New Jersey’s full contribution to the Delaware River Basin Commission has long been a priority of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, a network of more than 175 nonpartisan organizations, 37 in New Jersey, working to protect and restore the 4-state region of New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
The Commission’s creation was the first time in our nation’s history that the federal government and a group of states joined together as equal partners on a regional body with the force of law to oversee a unified approach to managing a river system without regard to political boundaries. The Commission monitors water quality, conducts comprehensive resource planning, and manages drinking water supplies for over 13.3 million Americans, ― 2.6 million in New Jersey alone―including the residents of Trenton and Camden among other communities in western New Jersey.
In 1988, the Commission members reached an agreement to appropriate funding contributions as follows:
- Delaware: 12.5%, $447,000
- Pennsylvania: 25%, $893,000
- New Jersey: 25%, $893,000
- New York: 17.5%, $626,000
- Federal Government: 20%, $715,000
The Coalition applauds Governor Murphy’s continued leadership and the legislature’s prioritization of the agency. New York and Pennsylvania have been consistent in underfunding the Commission and continued lack of funding is detrimental to the Commission’s progress on climate change research and planning for its impacts. The state of Delaware has consistently honored their fiscal commitment to the Commission throughout the last 11 years.
“By funding the Delaware River Basin Commission for the second consecutive year, New Jersey has displayed their commitment to clean, well-managed waters throughout the watershed. Since its inception, the Commission has provided much needed research to protect clean water for recreation, farming, and drinking throughout the basin,” said Kelly Knutson, Director, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. “In our advocacy, the Coalition is proud to highlight New Jersey’s support of the Commission and their leadership in continually honoring their funding commitment.”
“The Delaware River Basin Commission is essential for interstate collaboration to protect and manage over 300 miles of watershed. We thank Governor Murphy and the legislature for their continued prioritization of water resources as it has never been more important to secure clean water for future generations,” said Rebecca Hilbert, New Jersey LCV Policy Associate and New Jersey State Lead for the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. “We also thank the more than thirty New Jersey CDRW member organizations for their strong advocacy on such a critical issue.”
The Delaware River Watershed stimulates a robust outdoor recreational economy, home to a world class wild trout fishery and scenic kayaking and hiking. The watershed supports 62,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in wages in New Jersey alone. These jobs rely on public access, wildlife, and recreational opportunities.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, and Delaware Gov. John Carney joined together in Philadelphia in May 2019 to sign a proclamation declaring their renewed commitment to improving the Delaware River watershed – funding the Commission was cited as an immediate action step. The proclamation recognized “the advantage of working together to make the Delaware River Basin the national model for sustainable economic development, drinkable clean water, healthy fish and wildlife populations, outdoor recreation, and nature-based climate resilience.”