New Jersey floods
Flood events in New Jersey

Unfortunately, frequent flooding is polluting New Jersey waters, causing millions of dollars of damage, snarling traffic, threatening drinking water, and even endangering lives. Our counties, cities and towns need the support and resources to establish stormwater programs to defend against this growing threat. 

Flood Defense New Jersey is a coalition of state and local nonprofit organizations working to protect our communities from damaging floods and harmful stormwater pollution. 

Cleaner, greener and safer communities

When stormwater flows across hard surfaces, it can pick up pollution like oil and grease, toxic chemicals, bacteria and pesticides. In some cities, large rains cause the sewer systems to overflow directly into our sources of drinking water. When this polluted runoff enters our waterways, it makes them unsafe and unhealthy for people and wildlife. Stormwater also causes major flooding issues. Floodwaters damage homes and business, roads and bridges, and create traffic nightmares for commuters. Flood Defense programs will capture polluted runoff and help manage flooding damage, making our communities cleaner, greener and safer.

Empowering our communities 

  • Changing weather patterns mean we can expect more flooding in the future — unless we act now to manage it. 
  • Nearly 1,700 communities in 40 states across the U.S. have adopted stormwater or flood defense programs to help manage flooding and reduce pollution. 
  • A dedicated stormwater program is the best model for local governments to support public works projects that benefit their residents and businesses. 

How it works

Stormwater or flood defense programs are sometimes referred to as a “stormwater utility.” These programs are generally regarded as the most effective — and most equitable — model to address the growing threats from local flooding and stormwater pollution. Local governments create a dedicated fund that is treated like water, sewer, electric or other utilities. A stormwater utility assesses a user fee based on how much hard surface, such as concrete, rooftops or pavement, is on a property. The revenue supports stormwater projects and is kept separate from general funds, so it cannot be raided or spent on other needs. 

A fiscally responsible solution

  • A flood defense fee ensures everyone — including businesses and developers — are paying their fair share to protect our communities. 
  • Flood defense fees will go into a dedicated fund that by law can only be spent on stormwater projects and programs. Auditors will monitor these funds to ensure they are not raided or transferred to other needs. 
  • Without a new method to address flooding concerns, municipalities will be faced with a terrible choice — raise property taxes to fund the necessary flood defense projects, or continue to put their communities at risk by doing nothing.