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Protecting Highlands Secures Fresh Water, Curbs Flooding in Caldwells

Highlands source of 25 to 50 percent of fresh water.

The Caldwell Council approved Tuesday a resolution to help protect the borough’s water resources from the Highlands, a region in northwestern New Jersey that supplies between 25 and 50% of the town’s water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. 

The resolution supports the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act, which was enacted in 2004 to protect the watershed and limit development in the region.

The Highlands are a “source of fresh drinking water for most of North Jersey,” George Stafford, Outreach Director of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, told the borough’s governing body Tuesday. “We are asking for support from receiving towns.”

The coalition is actively seeking support from municipalities in Essex, Bergen, Morris, Hudson and other counties that receive fresh water from the Highlands, Stafford said, in order to protect their interests against developers and preserve millions of New Jerseyans' “rights to fresh water.”

Stafford said development in the area is in part responsible for flood maps expanding in West Essex.

“The coalition’s standpoint is that redevelopment is better,” Stafford said.

The council unanimously supported the resolution with the blessing of the Caldwell Environmental Commission. 

The Highlands provides approximately 379 million gallons of water each day to more than 5 million residents of the state, according to the New Jersey Highlands Council.

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