Report Describes Promising Strategies for Equitable and Resilient Water Management in Camden
Recently, the US Water Alliance, along with the City of Camden and a team of Camden leaders representing utilities, local nonprofits, and environmental organizations, released An Equitable Water Future: Camden. This report highlights the connections between water management and equity in the city of Camden, NJ. The report is available online here.
An Equitable Water Future: Camden was collaboratively developed by representatives from American Water, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, Camden Lutheran Housing, the City of Camden, Cooper's Ferry Partnership, District Council Collaborative Board, Dreamcatchers International, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the Trust for Public Land, with support from the US Water Alliance them.
Camden communities face a range of challenges related to water, from combined sewer overflows and perceptions about water quality to the growing challenge of river rise and extreme weather. As a lower-income community, Camden has been historically affected by economic shifts, industrial pollution, and population decline, all of which affect the city's water systems. In response to these challenges, Camden stakeholders have come together to make water systems more equitable, through initiatives like green infrastructure installation, CSO reduction, youth employment opportunities, and public education.
"Camden's commitment to a better future is critically linked to our response to the challenges in our environment," said Camden Mayor Francisco "Frank" Moran. "The City of Camden is committed to an equitable water future that promotes the development of vibrant neighborhoods and economic growth and protects the health, safety, and welfare of our residents. I applaud the efforts of the dedicated organizations in the Water Equity Taskforce and look forward to ensuring a healthy environment for future Camden generations."
"Clean water utilities must use their resources to play an important role in contributing to healthy, thriving communities," said Andy Kricun, Executive Director of the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority (CCMUA). "The CCMUA strongly believes that everyone, no matter where they live, is entitled to safe drinking water and clean rivers and streams. While the environmental and economic challenges that we face are significant, we must work with Camden and our environmental and community service partners to tackle issues like water quality awareness, workforce development, and climate change. This document will guide CCMUA's efforts to ensure that all Camden residents understand their water systems, are resilient and sustainable, and benefit from infrastructure investment."
"As a water service provider in Camden for more than 125 years, we take pride in providing safe, clean, reliable, and affordable drinking water. The work of this taskforce is critical in helping reassure Camden residents their water is safe, and also in strengthening relationships with local organizations, creating new partnerships, and contributing to the renaissance of this city making Camden a thriving place to live, work and play," said Cheryl Norton, President of New Jersey American Water.
"Camden's Water Equity Taskforce has shown that smaller cities, with engaged communities and utilities, can advance solutions to the water equity challenges that they face. Through collaboration, Camden leaders are building trust in water systems, helping prepare communities for climate change, and growing water sector opportunities for all," said Radhika Fox, CEO of the US Water Alliance.
An Equitable Water Future: Camden focuses on three critical topics in water equity: raising awareness of water quality, building climate resilience, and creating workforce opportunity. For each of these topics, the report examines critical challenges, describes promising practices that are currently underway, and highlights priority actions that stakeholders in Camden can take to advance equitable water management.
The Water Equity Taskforce is a network of cities convened by the US Water Alliance that work together to develop more equitable water policies and practices. The Taskforce is comprised of cross-sector teams in the cities of Atlanta, Buffalo, Camden, Cleveland, Louisville, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh.
For more information on the Water Equity Taskforce project, visit http://uswateralliance.org/initiatives/water-equity/taskforce.