Monday, May 11, 2015

Upper Delaware Region Economy Suffers from Record Breaking Low River Flows

In 2014, a groundbreaking study revealed that the Upper Delaware River has the potential to generate significant economic value to the region when river flows and water temperatures are at levels that optimize recreational opportunities such as fishing and boating. The report also demonstrated how improved water releases from the Delaware River basin reservoirs could substantially increase economic revenues for the region. 

This week, the findings of that report came into crystal clear resolution as record- breaking low flows throughout the upper river system have chased away visitors in droves because they cannot enjoy river related recreational activities under current conditions.

“The low water has  negatively affected my business in an enormous way, and the season has only just started. Over the past few days my customer base virtually disappeared. The people are not coming.  My revenues are down and based on conversations I’m having with other business owners in the area, they are suffering in the same way. Something needs to be done,” said Theresa Allen, owner and operator of the Hancock Liquor Store based in the village of Hancock, NY
Low water inflows into the Delaware River basin reservoirs have resulted in severely limited amounts of water being released from the reservoirs, and record-breaking low water levels in the rivers. Low water makes it difficult and often impossible to float a boat of any kind down the river, and causes water temperatures to rise rapidly, posing grave threats to the habitat of the unique cold water ecosystem.

“Improved water releases can soften the blow when these kinds of weather patterns challenge the Upper Delaware River watershed, and this should be a resource management goal.  Low inflow conditions, coupled with long range forecasts of continued dry weather over the next 12 months, are going to present a real challenge for everyone this season,” said Garth Pettinger of NY Trout Unlimited.

“Our ability to mitigate the effects of these conditions, and adapt to them, will be critical.   To this end we have initiated calls for improved water releases, and a reduction in the disproportional reliance on the Delaware system for drinking water diversions. We’ve also requested that a formal thermal relief program be included in the next water management plan, and for directed releases to be distributed between the three rivers,” said Jeff Skelding, Executive Director of Friends of the Upper Delaware River.

Friends of the Upper Delaware River and NY Trout Unlimited are members of the Delaware Watershed Conservation Coalition. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) today announced the release of an updated modeling tool that will allow the public to test water management scenarios and compare their outcomes.

The tool, known as the Delaware River Basin-Planning Support Tool (DRB-PST), provides interested stakeholders with the ability to test flow management scenarios against a set of existing targets, regulations, and laws that govern the use of water within the Delaware River Basin. The tool will show users how those scenarios would change an array of outcomes, including the amount of water available for drinking supplies, downstream releases, habitat protection, flood mitigation, and more.

“The availability of the DRB-PST modeling tool is a positive development intended to support a more comprehensive understanding about how reservoir and flow management operating plans affect river flows and related aquatic habitats,” said DRBC Executive Director Steve Tambini. “It will allow interested stakeholders to use a science-based tool to compare the impacts of ‘what-if’ scenarios on multiple and complex water resource goals, targets and objectives.”

DRBC also announced that the DRB-PST model will be on the agenda of the Regulated Flow Advisory Committee meeting to be held at 10 a.m. on April 17 at the commission’s West Trenton, N.J. office. The public is invited to attend.

River flows, diversions out of the basin, and water uses within the basin are managed, operated and regulated through a series of complex and interdependent rules and targets. The DRB-PST model uses hydrologic inputs (like runoff and snowmelt), operating conditions, and management rules to help evaluate the impacts of reservoir operating plans on the multipurpose water resource objectives identified in the Delaware River Basin Compact, which created the DRBC in 1961.

Three reservoirs located in headwaters of the Delaware River that are owned and operated by the City of New York (NYC) provide about half of the city’s water supply. Downstream releases of water from these reservoirs and diversions out of the basin for NYC and New Jersey were established and continue to be negotiated by Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and NYC (commonly known as “the Decree Parties”) under the terms of a 1954 U.S. Supreme Court Decree and the subsequent Good Faith Agreement Recommendations.

The DRBC and the Decree Parties have some overlapping membership and a long history of collaboration on planning and modeling issues within the Delaware River Basin. The DRBC signatory members include the four basin states and the federal government. NYC is not a DRBC member. The Compact prohibits the DRBC from adversely affecting the releases or diversions provided in the 1954 Decree without the unanimous consent of the five Decree Parties.

The Flexible Flow Management Program (FFMP), which has been unanimously approved by the Decree Parties, is intended to meet water supply demands, protect fisheries habitat downstream of the NYC-Delaware Basin reservoirs, enhance flood mitigation, and repel the upstream movement of salt water in the Delaware Estuary. The FFMP’s target numbers and goals are included in the PST-DRB model and any changes to the FFMP in the future can be reflected in the model as well.

The DRBC’s original water supply planning model was developed in 1981. That model was revised several times to include additional data, facilities, and flow management policies, and was moved into OASIS software in the early 2000s. The original OASIS model known as DRB-OASIS can simulate the current FFMP, including the Combined Seasonal Storage Objective (CSSO) for flood mitigation, but not the revised Habitat Protection Program (HPP) which has evolved since the first FFMP. The Habitat Protection Program uses simulated forecasts of reservoir inflows to determine the amount of water available for fisheries releases from the three NYC reservoirs. In doing so, modeling can be performed to evaluate scenarios that use water more efficiently for fisheries habitat objectives while maintaining the reliability of critical water supply objectives and flood mitigation components of the FFMP.

The DRB-PST incorporates aspects of NYC’s Operations Support Tool (OST), a sophisticated monitoring and modeling system that allows for better predictions than previous tools of reservoir-specific water storage levels, quality, and inflows. OST uses forecasts to determine the amount of available water to release for habitat protection and assesses the risks of reservoir operations to public water supply needs across the entire NYC reservoir system, not only its three Delaware River Basin reservoirs. DRB-PST incorporates the OST simulated forecasts for long-term water supply planning based on reservoir operations. A technical working group from DRBC, the Decree Parties (four states and NYC), and the City of Philadelphia have worked together to ensure that the model is useful for those with an interest in Delaware River operations. This group will continue to evaluate and verify model inputs and results and release revised PST versions as necessary.

“Scientists and engineers from DRBC and New York City collaborated to ensure this new public modeling tool produced accurate results that are comparable to those generated by the OST modeling tool that the City uses to make decisions about reservoir operations every day,” said Tambini.

Persons who did not previously use the DRB-OASIS model who wish to obtain the DRB-PST model for the first time will need to purchase required software. Additional information about DRB-PST and the upcoming Regulated Flow Advisory Committee meeting can be found on the commission’s web site at

DRBC is a federal/interstate government agency responsible for managing the water resources within the 13,539 square-mile Delaware River Basin without regard to political boundaries. The five commission members are the governors of the basin states and the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ North Atlantic Division, who represents the federal government. More information concerning the 1954 Decree, the Decree Parties, and related water management activities can be found on the web site for the USGS Office of the Delaware River Master at

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Working to Improve Access on the Upper Delaware River

Delaware Highlands Conservancy Launches Fundraising
Campaign for River Access in Long Eddy, NY

Hawley, PA and Bethel, NY— Hours of community input are coming to
fruition as the next phase of the Sullivan County River Access Plan, an initiative
which has engaged and activated the community, is now being initiated.

As Sue Currier, Executive Director for the Delaware Highlands Conservancy,
explains, “The Conservancy is honored to be helping to implement a plan that
Sullivan County and the community developed to revitalize river communities,
enhance our economic vitality, and develop a coordinated, cohesive approach to
branding the county’s river accesses. As a result, we’re coordinating a
fundraising campaign to make this next phase happen, beginning with the Long
Eddy river access.”

The purpose of the fundraising campaign is to purchase, protect, and improve
the fishing and boat access site to the Delaware River located in Long Eddy,
Sullivan County, NY.

At present, the Long Eddy access is popular with river guides and recreational
users, but does not have a ramp or sufficient parking. The resulting crowded
conditions reduce use by all but the most determined, and create conflicts over
inappropriate parking with the nearby residents and businesses. The recently
completed Sullivan County River Access Plan has identified the need to enhance
access to the Delaware River for recreational enthusiasts and provide additional
economic lift to our river towns, such as Long Eddy.

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy has signed a contract to acquire a piece
of private property located along the Delaware River, adjacent to the existing
road used as the boat launch. It will be conveyed to the NYS DEC, who will in
turn improve the boat launch for all river users.

The purchase, holding, and subsequent transfer of the property will cost
approximately $20,000, and the Conservancy is hosting a fundraising campaign
to cover these costs. The campaign may be accessed via Indiegogo at or more information is available on the Conservancy’s website at Every dollar donated goes
directly to the project and, in turn, benefits the local community, its businesses,
and all river users.

As Jeff Graff, an avid fly fisherman, explains, "The Delaware River is a truly
amazing natural resource and a fly fisherman’s dream. It’s clear, clean waters
flow over cobble bottom long eddies and riffles that meander through the
ancient, dark hills and hardwood forests of southern New York and northeastern
Pennsylvania and hold abundant populations of healthy, wild rainbow and
brown trout. Its prolific aquatic insect hatches of mayflies, caddis flies and
stoneflies provide some of the best and most challenging fly fishing
opportunities for fishermen in the United States.”\

He continues, “Creating and maintaining access to the river is essential, not only
to fishermen interested in ensuring that the fishery remains vital and accessible
to drift boats and wade fishermen, but also to other recreational users of the river
such as canoeists and kayakers."

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy works with landowners and communities
to protect the healthy lands, clean waters, eagles and other wildlife, and
sustainable economies of the Upper Delaware River region. For more
information, send an email to or call 845-583-1010

Monday, September 15, 2014

Future of the Upper Delaware River Conference

Water Water Everywhere – Future of the Upper Delaware River Conference
October 14-15, 2014, 10 am – 4 pm
Hosted by Friends of the Upper Delaware River

Register Now for the 5th Annual WWE Conference!

This year’s 2-day conference will be our largest ever with expert speakers who will comprehensively address all of the pressing issues facing the Upper Delaware River.  The event is also a time to reconnect with old friends, network with partners and allies, and socialize on the banks of the beautiful West Branch of the Upper Delaware River during peak foliage season.

Conference Fee:  $35/day $60/two days – includes meals (lodging not included)
Early Bird Special – Paid Registration by September 15 – $30/day $50/two day

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Paddlers & Boaters Reminded to Obtain Launch Permits

As summer winds down, paddlers planning kayaking and canoeing trips are reminded that a launch permit or boat registration is required to use access areas owned by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and at state park and state forest access areas operated by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
“The popularity of unpowered boats, including canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, is growing in the Commonwealth and nationwide,” said Corey Britcher, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Law Enforcement. “This is great for the sport and we’re glad people are engaged in outdoor activities.”
“With more people using Commission access areas, we want to remind them that a launch permit or boat registration is required,” he added. “Boat registrations and permit sales generate funds for the continued maintenance of these facilities and for boating safety programs and services.”
PFBC launch permits cost $10 for one year or $18 for two years.
Users can also choose to register their unpowered boat for $18. Boat registrations are issued for 2-year periods and expire on March of the second year.
PFBC launch permits and boat registrations are also valid in state parks and state forests. Users can also purchase a DCNR launch or mooring permit, which is valid at PFBC properties. Visit the DCNR website for more information.
Paddlers using PFBC access areas without valid launch permits or boat registrations are subject to a $75 fine.
Launch permits are available online through the PFBC’s Outdoor Shop, at PFBC region offices, authorized issuing agents and many state park offices. More information is available by calling the PFBC’s toll-free registration hot-line 866-BOATREG (866-262-8734) or by visiting the PFBC website.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Upper Delaware BioBlitz

Second Annual Upper Delaware BioBlitz to Occur in Sullivan County

UPPER DELAWARE REGION – Families can take advantage of a special educational opportunity for all ages to experience the diversity of life on a unique parcel of private property. The second annual Upper Delaware BioBlitz will occur on Saturday, June 28 and Sunday, June 29, 2014. This event is free to the public.

During this event, biologists and volunteers will gather to identify as many living things as possible within 24 hours on a demarcated parcel of about 200 acres within the Ten Mile River Scout Camp in the Town of Tusten, Sullivan County, NY. Collection will start at noon on Saturday and continue until noon on Sunday.

The public is invited to tour the site from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Sunday. For free, families can view the specimens, talk to experts, and enjoy a tour of the site to learn how different species live and thrive in the context of the overall property. Teams and sponsoring organizations will provide information and offer educational programs on their particular areas of expertise. The public should attend for an opportunity to meet scientists of different disciplines, see what they have collected and take a tour of the site.

“This exciting event highlights the richness of the environment in which we play, work and live and helps us see our lives in the context of all the other living things with which we co-exist,” says BioBlitz organizer, Steve Schwartz.

A BioBlitz is an event where teams of scientists gather on a demarcated property for 24 hours to collect, identify, and catalogue every single species they can find visible to the naked eye. The latter part of the event is open to the public for youth and their families to meet the scientists, see what they have collected, and learn more about biology in the context of the site.

Teams of researchers will focus on specific categories of life, including aquatic macro invertebrates, birds, botany, fish, fungi, reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates, mammals, mosses, and lichens. The scientists are asked to identify what they find down to the species level using specialized methods. Some of this will be done in the field either by photos or visual identification. Other items will be brought back to the collection tables for further identification through careful analysis through microscopes and reference material on site.

A portion of this property is within the National Park Service’s Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River corridor and borders the river at the Ten Mile River landing. The BioBlitz site will also include the Indian Cliffs, Rock Lake, Mauls Pond, and Grassy Swamp Pond, one of the only quaking bogs to be scientifically authenticated in the Catskills.

According to the University of Connecticut’s website, “BioBlitz is designed to increase the public's awareness of the variety of life in their immediate neighborhood and the services these various species provide to improve the quality of their lives. We usually hear the word "biodiversity" in regard to rainforests with their vast number of species. Yet the diversity of life in our own backyards is phenomenal. We take for granted clean water, fertile soil, and air to breathe. Yet these are all the result of working ecosystems filled with species that perform these tasks. From our morning shower to our late night snack, we are supported by biodiversity every minute of the day. What better way to address the topic than to invite people to share in our 24-hours of discovery and to experience the vast array of species that we can find in their neighborhood park in just one cycle of the day.”

All of the data will be compiled into an inventory of species collected during the event. This information will be publicly available and may help future scientists understand what was living on the site at this particular time, including rare or endangered species. Experts will travel from far distances to study this unique area of New York State.

“It’s an unusual opportunity for scientists and amateur naturalists to share information with the public about their research,” Schwartz adds. “The entire collection of species identified, along with vast biota of microscopic species, are interdependent and nourished by the mineral and organic composition of the soils and the air and water. People experienced in various disciplines working together at this event reflect the interdependence of life in the natural environment.”

Upper Delaware BioBlitz participating organizations include Delaware Highlands Mushroom Society, Upper Delaware Council, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County, National Park Service, Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Friends of the Upper Delaware, Sullivan Renaissance and Delaware Riverkeeper Network. The Delaware Highlands Conservancy is the Fiscal Sponsor for the event and all contributions to the event through the Conservancy are tax deductible.

Scientists are participating from Cornell, Penn State, East Stroudsburg University, Academy of Sciences Philadelphia, and other academic, nonprofit and governmental organizations.

In 2013 over 50 scientists and amateur naturalists gathered for the first Upper Delaware BioBlitz on the Norcross Wildlife Foundation’s “Gales Property” at the confluence of the East and West Branches and main stem of the Delaware River. In 24 hours they collected, identified, and catalogued 1,024 unique species of life. Some of the collected species identifications were later confirmed by experts at the New York Botanical Garden and Smithsonian Institution and the insects collected by the Invertebrate team are in the permanent collection of the Academy of Sciences in Philadelphia.

Monday, April 7, 2014

$1 Billion Project to Fix Leaks in Delaware Aqueduct

Department of Environmental Protection Joins Local Officials from the Hudson Valley to Mark Important Progress on the Delaware Aqueduct Bypass Tunnel

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd on Friday joined town, county and state officials in Wappinger, N.Y. to mark the next phase of construction at Shaft 6B, a key component of the $1 billion bypass tunnel project that will address leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct. Commissioner Lloyd was joined by Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, Town of Wappinger Supervisor Barbara Gutzler, State Sen. Terry Gipson, State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, and Town of Newburgh Supervisor Gil Piaquadio for a ceremonial first blast at the construction site, which marked the beginning of bedrock excavation to build a 700-foot-deep shaft on the east side of the Hudson River.

The Delaware Aqueduct conveys more than half of New York City’s high-quality drinking water every day from reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains. DEP has been monitoring two leaks in the aqueduct since the 1990s. The leaks—located in Newburgh and Wawarsing—release a combined 15-35 million gallons a day, depending on the rate of flow inside the aqueduct. To address the leaks, DEP has begun construction of a 2.5-mile bypass tunnel that will run 600 feet below the Hudson River, from Newburgh to Wappinger. The bypass tunnel, which is scheduled to be complete in 2021, will convey water around the leaking portion of the Delaware Aqueduct in Newburgh. That existing part of the aqueduct will be taken out of service once the bypass tunnel is finished. The smaller leak in Wawarsing will be sealed shut by grouting from inside the aqueduct.

The bypass tunnel is the central component of DEP’s $1.5 billion Water for the Future program, which aims to ensure clean, safe and reliable drinking water for future generations of New Yorkers. Water for the Future also includes structural upgrades to the Catskill Aqueduct, rehabilitation of the Queens Groundwater System to supplement upstate supplies, and water conservation initiatives in the City.

“Repairing the Delaware Aqueduct is among the highest priorities for DEP because the aqueduct supplies more than half the drinking water to 8.4 million people in New York City and another million residents upstate,” DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd said. “That is why I’d like to thank the elected leaders here in the Hudson Valley for working with DEP to help this vital infrastructure project get started.”

The Delaware water supply system originates more than 120 miles north of New York City and comprises four reservoirs: Cannonsville, Neversink, Pepacton and Rondout. The 85-mile long Delaware Aqueduct conveys drinking water from these reservoirs to the City’s distribution system. On average, the Delaware Aqueduct provides more than half of the approximately 1 billion gallons of clean drinking water required to meet the City’s demands every day. The aqueduct, the world’s longest continuous tunnel, was constructed between 1939 and 1944 and crosses Ulster, Orange, Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties. The aqueduct runs as deep as 1,500 feet below ground, varies in diameter from 13.5 to 19.5 feet, and was constructed by drilling and blasting.

In most areas, the Delaware Aqueduct is lined only with reinforced concrete. However, two sections of the tunnel that run through limestone formations were lined with steel because limestone is more likely to cause wear and tear on the aqueduct. The ongoing investigation of the structural integrity of the aqueduct has found that small cracks formed where this steel lining ended.

DEP has continuously tested and monitored the leaks by using dye, backflow, and hydrostatic tests, and hourly flow monitors provide near real-time data on the location and volume of the leaks. In 2003 and 2009, DEP used an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)—a cutting-edge, self-propelled submarine-shaped vehicle built in partnership with engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts—to conduct a detailed survey of the entire 45-mile length of tunnel between Rondout Reservoir and West Branch Reservoir. The AUV took 360-degree photographs while gathering sonar, velocity, and pressure data to assist in determining the location, size and characteristics of the leaks. The AUV is scheduled to launch again in fall 2014 to update that data. All the data gathered thus far clearly show that the rate of water leaking from the tunnel has remained constant and the cracks have not worsened since DEP began monitoring them in 1992.

Repairing Leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct
In 2010, the City announced a plan to address the leaks by building a bypass tunnel around the portion of the aqueduct in Newburgh with significant leaks, and also grouting closed the smaller leaks in Wawarsing. Site work for this complex project began in January 2013 and construction is expected to continue through the year 2021.

The project commenced with the excavation of two vertical shafts that will provide access for construction workers to build the bypass tunnel. The shafts in Newburgh and Wappinger will be 900 and 700 feet below surface level respectively and will measure roughly 30 feet in diameter. Blasting for the shaft in Newburgh began in October 2013. Work in Wappinger began last year with the excavation of roughly 65 feet of topsoil, which allowed construction crews to begin the blasting and excavation of bedrock in late March. Both shafts are expected to be complete by 2016. An underground chamber at the bottom of the Newburgh shaft will serve as the staging area for the bypass tunnel. DEP expects to use a tunnel boring machine to drill the 22-foot-diameter bypass tunnel, progressing at roughly 50 feet a day. The tunnel will be roughly 14.5 feet in diameter once it is lined with concrete and steel and will stretch 2.5 miles—including beneath the entire width of the Hudson River.

The existing Delaware Aqueduct will stay in service while the bypass tunnel is under construction. Once the bypass tunnel is nearly complete and water supply augmentation and conservation measures are in place, the existing tunnel will be taken out of service and excavation will begin to connect the bypass tunnel to structurally sound portions of the existing aqueduct. This work is anticipated to happen late in the year 2021. Engineers expect it will take roughly eight months to connect the bypass tunnel. While the Delaware Aqueduct is shut down, work crews will also fix cracks at three segments in Wawarsing, roughly 35 miles northwest of the bypass tunnel. These segments, totaling roughly 500 feet, will be sealed by injecting grout into them.

The project will mark the first time that the Delaware Aqueduct will be drained since 1958. In June, City employees installed new pumps inside Shaft 6, also in Wappinger, at the lowest point of the Delaware Aqueduct to eventually dewater the tunnel. Those pumps will be tested several times before the tunnel is drained in 2021. The nine pumps are capable of removing a maximum of 80 million gallons of water a day from the tunnel—more than quadruple the capacity of the original pumps they replaced from the 1940s. The largest of the pumps are three vertical turbine pumps that each measure 23 feet tall and weigh 9 tons.

The bypass tunnel project is expected to create nearly 200 jobs over the next seven years. In 2012, DEP signed a project labor agreement (PLA) with the Hudson Valley Building and Construction Trade Council that ensured the vast majority of those jobs would be filled by local workers. Also, the PLA is expected to save the City up to $23 million over the life of the project. With 18 different local labor agreements that could potentially apply to the project, the PLA provides for a unified approach to shifts and time off, and the increased coordination under one agreement allows for more cost-effective scheduling and increased flexibility.

Because the Shaft 6B worksite in Wappinger is located near a residential neighborhood, DEP has taken several steps, with guidance from the town, to ensure minimal disruption to local residents. The City has installed noise barriers around the perimeter of the construction site, and contractors are adhering to a schedule that does not allow blasting after 3 p.m. DEP also conducted pre-blast surveys of nearby homes and will perform seismic monitoring throughout the project to ensure compliance with vibration thresholds. Vibration from blasting should not be felt by local residents because of the depth and relatively small size of the charges.

The City has also agreed to fund an $11 million extension of Wappinger’s existing water district—a project that is mutually beneficial to DEP and the town. The extension will provide water to the Shaft 6B construction site, which ultimately saved DEP the cost of potentially more expensive options for getting water. New York City will pay Wappinger for the water that it uses at Shaft 6B, which will come from preexisting well fields that are owned and operated by the town. The district extension will also provide connections to 150 homes in the surrounding hamlet of Chelsea. Homeowners who connect to the extended system are expected to see a decrease in their home insurance rates because the water lines will include fire hydrants every 500 feet. Phase I of the extension, which extended water lines south from Route 9, down River Road to the construction site, has already been completed. Phase II is expected to begin this year. DEP also reached an agreement to provide Dutchess County with $800,000 for the maintenance and post-construction repair of Chelsea Road, which serves as the main access road to the construction site.

Ensuring Reliable Water Supply During Construction
The Delaware Aqueduct bypass project has required years of preparation and planning the led to the Water for the Future program, a portfolio of related projects that will ensure New York City has high-quality and reliable drinking water while the aqueduct is out of service.
  • Catskill Aqueduct Repair and Rehabilitation: The 74-mile-long Catskill Aqueduct, which conveys water from the Ashokan and Schoharie reservoirs, will undergo a repair and rehabilitation project starting in 2016. Along with replacing more than 30 valves that are decades old, the interior lining of the tunnel will be scrubbed to decrease friction, which will increase the tunnel’s capacity by approximately 30-40 million gallons of water each day.
  • Queens Groundwater: To augment the City’s upstate water supplies, DEP will also rehabilitate the Queens Groundwater System, formerly the Jamaica Water Supply, which will sustainably provide more than 33 million gallons of water a day in southeast Queens. DEP has committed to using proven technologies to ensure these wells produce high-quality water that meets or exceeds all water quality standards. The Queens Groundwater System comprises 68 wells at 48 separate well stations.
  • Water Conservation: Between now and the Delaware Aqueduct shutdown in 2021, DEP will implement a number of initiatives to reduce water consumption in the City by as much as 50 million gallons a day. As part of the Municipal Water Efficiency Program, DEP is identifying opportunities to conserve water at City-owned properties and facilities. Thus far, DEP has partnered with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to install activation buttons on spray showers in 400 playgrounds around the city that will save 1.5 million gallons of water a day. DEP has also begun updating bathroom fixtures in 500 city schools that will save an additional 4 million gallons of water each day. To help encourage water conservation in private residences, DEP will sponsor a voucher program that aims to replace up to 800,000 inefficient toilets with high efficiency models that will save up to 30 million gallons of water a day by 2018. The City is also working with private businesses to reduce demand for water and, over the summer, announced that 11 premier hotels have agreed to cut their water use by 5 percent, saving roughly 13 million gallons annually.
  • Croton System: The Croton Water Filtration Plant is entering its final stage of construction in the north Bronx, and testing of the filtration system and water lines is nearly complete. Once online, the filtration plant will allow the City to once again use water from the reservoirs in Putnam and Westchester counties that comprise the Croton System. DEP expects this will provide nearly 300 million gallons of high-quality water each day.
Updates on construction, milestones and other information related to Water for the Future will be posted at: The website includes a clear explanation of the projects, a timeline, and information about how the program will improve and secure the delivery of clean drinking water to 8.4 million residents of New York City and roughly a million additional residents in Orange, Putnam, Ulster and Westchester counties who also use water from the City’s supply.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.4 million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam, and Westchester counties. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP employs nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and others professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $68 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.5 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with over $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at