The N.J. Sierra Club Thursday criticized a plan announced by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection over an agreement with New York City to increase the flow of water into the Delaware River from the city’s reservoirs.
The plan focuses on increasing the amount of water available in the Delaware River for water supply intakes, to prevent flooding, and maintain aquatic habitat. The Sierra Club stated that it is alarmed that the Christie administration has chosen to take action on this issue while ignoring threats to the water quality of the Delaware River.
“The Christie administration is negotiating flow rates for the Delaware River with New York City while ignoring the consequences hydraulic fracturing will have on the Basin,” N.J. Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said in a release.
“If fracking moves forward there will be no river left. Instead of talking about how much water is in the river, New Jersey’s representatives should be fighting to protect the quality of our water.”
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a controversial means of drilling for oil or gas deposits that environmentalists fear carries a great risk of pollution.
The agreement will allow New Jersey to increase flows to the Delaware and Raritan Canal during drought. The state will be able to divert an additional 15 million gallons of water.
In a release, DEP stated that the agreement worked out with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and approved by the four states that share the river basin – New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware – will better control the river’s salt line, typically found in an area around the Delaware Memorial Bridge in Salem County, thereby better protecting aquatic life, as well as drinking-water suppliers and industries that utilize fresh water from the river.
The agreement enables water purveyors in a broad swath of central New Jersey to tap into a larger share of Delaware River water via the Delaware & Raritan Canal. It also calls for the city to test a procedure to help to alleviate threats of flooding along upper portions of the Delaware River, according to DEP.
“This agreement is a perfect example of agencies working together and across state lines to reach a goal that is good for the entire region, one that is consistent with good water supply practices,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin.