Dan Van Abs, professor of professional practice in the Department of Human Ecology, has been awarded a grant of approximately $200,000 from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to help update the New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan.
A former project manager for the 1996 Statewide Water Supply Plan during his previous tenure as NJDEP manager, Van Abs will be working closely with the technical experts at the state agency.
“It’s an honor to be able to work on this important project, especially as I co-authored and managed the development of the 1996 statewide water supply plan more than 25 years ago,” said Van Abs.
The 1996 plan was the first new water supply plan since the original 1982 plan, explained Van Abs. “It provided a more detailed analysis of water demands and availability, and for the first time focused attention on the need to protect water supplies from pollution.” The 1996 plan was eventually replaced by the 2017 plan.
According to Van Abs, the new plan will update the 2017 plan by extending the planning horizon to 2050, incorporating new estimates of water availability and demands, as well as incorporating climate change and resilience issues for the first time.
The award to Van Abs includes funding for a subcontractor to assist with public engagement, in meetings and online, so that the plan benefits from the best thinking available from New Jersey experts and key interest groups.
Van Abs has a long history of working with the NJDEP and other state agencies in water resources and watershed management. In addition to his more than 12 years at NJDEP, he led the development of the Raritan Basin Watershed Management Plan with the New Jersey Water Supply Authority. He also served as the planning and science manager at the Highlands Council during its development of the Highlands Regional Master Plan, which established both the planning rational and regulations for management of land and water resources in much of north-central New Jersey.
“As I move toward the end of my professional career, I’m pleased to again have the opportunity to help on these critical issues,” said Van Abs.