STONE HARBOR - Stone Harbor officials hosted a meeting with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection on Dec. 3 to discuss further opportunities to conserve water in the community. The meeting was hosted by Stone Harbor’s “Go Green Community” and featured discussion led by Katie Barnett from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Water Allocation.
“The meeting provided an important dialogue involving the Borough, the State, landscapers, and residents who are interested in water conservation”, Councilwoman Lane said. “We discussed water conversation measures, smart irrigation, and the plethora of educational opportunities available to Stone Harbor to encourage our residents and visitors to use less water”.
The Borough has requested an increase in the water allocation permit that is issued by the NJDEP each year. Stone Harbor is taking many proactive measures to reduce the amount of water used for landscaping and other purposes. The Stone Harbor Borough Council is prepared to introduce a new ordinance in January, 2013 that will require all new construction to include “smart controller” irrigation systems and any rehabilitation of more than 50 percent of a current structure to also include the smart controller system. In 2012, Stone Harbor passed a new irrigation resolution that allows for irrigation only three days per week unless the property already uses a smart controller system.
Ms. Barnett talked extensively about the water allocation challenges that are facing Cape May County, including Stone Harbor. She reported that salt water intrusion has already contaminated some aquifers while others face salt water intrusion over the next few decades. Ms. Barnett told the audience that the NJDEP looks at the challenges that face a county as a whole; Cape May County will face challenges in upcoming years and a county conservation study may be warranted. She complimented Stone Harbor for its proactive approach to water conservation and promised to work with the Borough on various water conservation education efforts.
“It is very important for our residents, businesses, property owners, and even our visitors to recognize and embrace the importance of conserving water”, Councilwoman Lane said. “The Stone Harbor Go Green Community committee will continue to explore innovations and technology that makes sense for our community so we can avoid unnecessary fines for exceeding the water allocation permit set by the State of New Jersey”.
Ms. Barnett also talked about state and federal programs that would provide outreach and educational opportunities for the Borough to explore. Fun educational materials will be distributed to Stone Harbor Elementary School students so they can learn about the importance of water conservation at an early age.
For more information, please visit the “Go Green Community” link on the Stone Harbor Borough website at www.stone-harbor.nj.us.