Our sixth annual conference will be virtual and held over three days, December 9 to December 11.

Day one will have two separate sessions:

  • Inspirational conference kick-off. We’ll hear from a keynote speaker, a government speaker, and an update on the progress being made by the collaborative. 
  • Plenary panel where speakers from diverse perspectives explore a pressing topic, such as: “How do we pay for water upgrades in fiscally challenging times”. 

Days two and three will offer four in-depth sessions geared towards our diverse stakeholders, with rich content and technical assistance to assist those in the field so they can continue to make progress. Staggered times will allow attendees to join multiple sessions.

This agenda is a draft and subject to change.

Wednesday, December 9, 1:00 – 4:30 pm

1:00Sixth Annual Jersey Water Works Conference Kick-Off Session

3:00Paying for Water Infrastructure: The 2020 Perspective
Followed by Q&A
We still lack adequate funding for the routine maintenance and essential upgrades of our water infrastructure. New Jerseyians have long discussed the need to remove lead pipes, replace old water and sewer mains, and fix CSOs to have reliable water systems and healthy communities. At the end of the day, we can’t implement these solutions without substantial and sustainable funding sources. How do we grow NJ’s share of state and federal funds? What other innovative programs can we consider? Where do increasing rates fit? How about affordability?

Ras J. Baraka Mayor, City of Newark
David Zimmer Executive Director, New Jersey Infrastructure Bank

Thursday, December 10, 6:00 – 7:15 pm

6:00Workshop: Roadmap to Becoming an Effective Water Citizen
Water systems are critical for our well-being, but issues such as lead in drinking water, chronic flooding, water pollution, and unaffordable water services threaten public health and safety. How can individuals drive change in their communities to solve these problems? This introductory workshop for community members will shine light on the unseen infrastructure, innovative solutions for water challenges, and actions that can ensure a sustainable water future. Cultivate your skills and grow your knowledge to become an informed water citizen and make a difference in your community.

Randy Soloman Director, The Sustainability Institute at The College of New Jersey and Executive Director, Sustainable Jersey

Friday, December 11, 9:00 – 10:30 am, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm, 1:00 – 2:30 pm

9:00Workshop: Affordable Funding Approaches for Combined Sewer Solutions
Implementing CSO Long Term Control Plans will result in significant environmental and public health improvements. However, these projects will be expensive. How can municipalities and utilities with combined sewer systems pay for these plans in ways that are affordable for utilities and communities? Learn how cities have a variety of funding mechanisms, including stormwater and hook-up fees, subsidized loans from state programs like the NJ Infrastructure Bank, non-traditional sources for open space, and hazard mitigation to reduce the cost of these crucial upgrades.

Andy Kricun Managing Director, Moonshot Missions; Senior Fellow, US Water Alliance (Moderator)
Jennifer Gonzalez Director of Environmental Services and Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Hoboken, New Jersey
11:00Workshop: Using Data to Build Trust in Our Water Systems 
How do we get it right?
How do we use data to build trust and support for our water systems while improving performance? Despite the many advances in water treatment and sanitation systems and their successes, trust in these systems can seem fragile. It is important to build trust in water systems to help generate community support for much-needed investments in them. Trust building starts with sharing information and data between utilities and the communities they serve. In this workshop, we will have a facilitated discussion exploring the power of data and also the risks. Speakers will share what NJ residents know and think about their water systems, examples of successful water dashboards, evolving state requirements for data, and a demo of Jersey WaterCheck—Jersey Water Work’s new data dashboard.

Wynnie-Fred Victor Hinds Co-chair, Newark Environmental Commission
1:00Workshop: Building Our Water Workforce Pipeline
A growing portion of the water workforce will retire within the next several years, creating both a challenge to fill these critical positions and an opportunity to increase the diversity of the sector. At the same time, addressing New Jersey’s crumbling water infrastructure will create additional jobs across the state—especially in environmental justice communities. Now is the time to focus both on preparing community members for these jobs and ensuring that there is a pipeline to employers who are hiring.

Kendra Morris Director of Business Development, SUEZ North America (Moderator)
Kareem Adeem Director, City of Newark’s Department of Water and Sewer Utilities
Alyssa Ward

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