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Water System Interconnection Study

Averting droughts and reducing spending through more efficient use of existing networks and infrastructure.

  • ACEC-NJ award ceremony - Gannett Fleming

    The hydraulic model included 140 water systems and thousands of miles of pipe.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Statewide, New Jersey

Our Role
Water Supply Study, Water Infrastructure Study, Tool Development, Financial Analysis.

140 water systems, more than 800 interconnections, and thousands of miles of pipe
6 years
  • Mitigating droughts through proactive water transfer between supply systems
  • Eliminating construction through efficient use of existing networks and infrastructure
  • Saving $40 million by eliminating the anticipated need for new infrastructure across the state.

The state of New Jersey contains more than 500 water supply systems. The state has experienced drought conditions in several regions. To proactively reduce droughts and mitigate water supply emergencies, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) commissioned a study to analyze the interconnectivity of its water supply systems.

The project required the evaluation of the primary physical and financial water supply infrastructure in New Jersey to provide recommendations to optimize current water diversions and transfers to avert and mitigate drought-related emergencies, mitigate the effects of water supply emergencies due to catastrophic loss, and optimize current water diversions under “normal operations.” The study also included an analysis of modifying regional raw water diversions and the rates and revenues impacts.

What We Did

Gannett Fleming looked at the vast network of New Jersey water systems as a single infrastructure network distributing a single resource to be maintained and managed in the best interest of all. By evaluating the ability of the statewide infrastructure to function as a unit, we developed a plan in which the individual water systems are all partners in making the total infrastructure network function in a manner that benefits the entire citizenry of the State of New Jersey. The project required the analysis of 140 water systems, more than 800 interconnections, and thousands of miles of pipe. Project outputs included water demand projects for the largest water systems throughout the state, a water system model of the primary New Jersey water supply and transmission infrastructure and associated system interconnections, an analysis of the water systems under catastrophic scenarios, and an analysis of the financial impact of implementing the recommendations of the study. It is the most comprehensive analysis New Jersey has undertaken to evaluate the overall capabilities of New Jersey’s water systems to use water transfers to mitigate drought and catastrophic failure. 

The decision support tool developed as part of this study improves the effectiveness of the system by projecting reservoir levels, analyzing possible water transfers, and providing a recommended water transfer strategy. This tool demonstrated that utilizing New Jersey’s existing infrastructure early in the drought process could have mitigated the impact of five of the seven most recent droughts.

Key Features

  • First time that hydraulic modeling was applied to simulate water transfer between systems statewide in New Jersey and to a region of this size in the United States
  • Development of a hydraulic model and geographic information system (GIS) database of primary water infrastructure
  • Model training for NJDEP personnel
  • Development of a decision support tool for making drought management and water transfer decisions
  • Evaluation of the potential impact of catastrophic infrastructure failure
  • Documentation of existing water demands and projecting future demands for the systems in the study
  • Analysis of the existing financial restrictions and development of implementation recommendations.

Awards & Recognition

  • Water System Interconnection Study, 2009 Grand Honor Award, American Council of Engineering Companies of NJ (ACEC/NJ).

Similar Projects: Water/Wastewater: Drinking Water, Engineering, Drinking Water: Planning, Water Resources: Planning, Drinking Water: Transmission Distribution & Storage, Water/Wastewater: Water Resources, Water/Wastewater, Engineering: Water/Wastewater