N.J. American Water Pres.: All the Cheap Water Has Been Found

New Jersey’s demand for water challenges an already strained water supply, requiring new sources and those likely will be expensive.

“All of the inexpensive water in New Jersey has already been found and is being used,” said John Bigelow, president of New Jersey American Water. Bigelow’s comments were made to assembled business leaders at the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey’s Utility Infrastructure Summit held Friday.

According to Bigelow, New Jersey’s growth to among the nation’s most densely populated states has created a situation where water supply is, or shortly will be an issue.

For example, Bigelow cited Cape May County, where communities have historically relied on groundwater. Over-reliance on well water has already resulted in some salt water intrusion into the aquifers. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is closely watching this movement, and appropriately limiting additional withdraws. “Those limitations will have an impact on economic development in those communities,” Bigelow said. “Water supply options across the state range from new reservoirs to building desalination plants along the short, and none of these alternatives are inexpensive.”

Bigelow, who delivered the Summit’s keynote, also took part in a panel discussion with executives from the power, gas, and telecommunications industries.

New Jersey American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest publicly traded water utility in the state, serving approximately 2.5 million people.