Monday, April 15, 2024

Where Does New York City Water Come From

Old And New Croton Aqueducts

Where Does NYC Tap Water Come From?

In 1842, the City’s first aqueduct, the Croton Aqueduct, was built from the Croton River along a section within Westchester County, down to Manhattan. According to New York Citys website, the Old Croton Aqueduct’s capacity was around 90 million gallons per day. To meet growing needs, the New Croton Aqueduct project was launched in 1885 and established in 1890, running with a capacity of 300 million gallons per day.

In 1905, the City’s newly-established Board of Water Supply launched the Catskill Aqueduct project, which would play an additional role in supplying the City’s ever-growing population of residents and visitors. In 1915, Ashokan Reservoir and Catskill Aqueduct were established. As the additions to the original, Schoharie Reservoir and Shandaken Tunnel was put into use 13 years later in 1928. The Catskill System has an operational capacity of approximately 850 million gallons per day. To be noted, Catskill aqueduct is the furthest away from the City in the water system. The distance is approximately 125 miles.

New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority

The NYW finances the capital needs of the water and sewer system of the city through the issuance of bonds, commercial paper, and other debt instruments. It is a public-benefit corporation created in 1985 pursuant to the New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority Act. The Authority is administered by a seven-member Board of Directors. Four of the members are ex officio members: the Commissioner of Environmental Protection of the City, the Director of Management and Budget of the City, the Commissioner of Finance of the City, and the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation of the State. The remaining three members are public appointments: two by the Mayor, and one by the Governor.

Food And Water In New York City

In New York City, there is an extensive water supply system that supports several programs and infrastructure pertaining to the city’s food supply. City officials, agencies, and organizations cooperate with rural farmers to grow food more locally, as well as protect waterways in the New York metropolitan area. The New York City Department of Education operates a school-time and summertime breakfast/lunch program. However, New York City is also deprived of supermarkets in several neighborhoods, and the city has combatted this issue by allowing extra street vendors to operate in the city. To encourage food safety, New York City also has a restaurant-grading system that it introduced in 2010. Because of its various food programs, New York City has become a model for food systems internationally.

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Michael Heller And James Salzman On The Concept Of As

New Yorkers are rarely a soft-spoken group, particularly when boasting about their city. Time Out magazine lists 50 reasons why New York is the greatest city in the worldgreatest skyline, greatest theater, and on and on. These brags should come as no surprise. Everyone has heard of the Empire State Building and Times Square. But you may be surprised at what the magazine lists as the number one reason New York is so great.

Its drinking water.

And you dont need to take the magazines word for it. New York tap water routinely wins blind taste contests against even the priciest bottled water.

While New Yorkers may know their tap water tastes great, few know that it comes from 125 miles northwest of the City and even fewer know that innovative ownership design lies at the heart of providing over a billion gallons of safe and refreshing water to nine million people every day. But Al Appleton knows.

Starting in the 1980s, though, small farms in the Catskills watershed came under economic pressure. They increased fertilizer use and began selling land to residential sub-developers. As the population grew and land use intensified, the clean water that New York City had taken for granted came under threat. Coupled with a revision to the Safe Drinking Water Act, it looked like New York would need to build a huge treatment plant for Catskills water with a price tag up to $4 billion, along with $200 million more annually to operate the plant.

Croton & Catskill/delaware Watersheds

Where does the Swag water come from?

The New York City water supply system is one of the largest surface water storage and supply systems in the world. In the United States, New York City is one of five metropolitan areas still supplying unfiltered surface water to its City residents.

The system reliably delivers more than 1.1 billion gallons of safe drinking water daily to nine million people this represents nearly half the population of all New York State.

The NYC water supply system consists of three surface water sources:

  • the Croton Watershed east of the Hudson River
  • the combined Catskill and Delaware watershed system west of the Hudson River.

These watersheds combined drainage area

  • totals 1,972 square miles
  • includes 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes

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Emerging Concerns Related To The Quality Of Drinking Water

The contamination of underground, as well as surface water sources has been recognized as a major impediment to safe drinking water. Ground water is contaminated by fertilizers, pesticides, oil, chemicals, and road salts which seep through layers of soil. Surface water has not been spared of pollution too by pollutants from both industries and households. Underground water depletion is also an emerging concern in the US, especially in the context of climate change where rainfall is significantly reduced.

Upcoming Infrastructure Rehabilitation And Construction

The following are identified as critical infrastructure rehabilitation projects that include system upgrades to improve operational flexibility. These upgrades are intended to allow NYC DEP to operate the systems to achieve all system operation goals, including enhancing habitat for fish and wildlife. During critical construction periods of the projects listed below, provisions must be made for some portion of the system being unavailable to provide water.

Catskill Aqueduct Repair and Rehabilitation

In 2018, NYC DEP began a $158 million, three-year project to rehabilitate the northern-most 74 miles of the Catskill Aqueduct . The work includes cleaning the entire length of conduit, repairing an estimated eight leaks in the system, replacing 36 valve chambers, and other structural and mechanical repairs as needed. The work includes shutting down the aqueduct for ten weeks during the autumn in each of the three years. Autumn has the lowest seasonal water demands.

The Catskill Aqueduct currently conveys approximately 590 MGD, but historical records indicate that the aqueduct has had a capacity of 660 MGD. This rehabilitation and cleaning are projected to increase conveyance capacity of the Catskill Aqueduct by 40 MGD. NYC DEP reports that they planned the work on the Catskill Aqueduct in anticipation of a longer shutdown required for the Delaware Aqueduct, discussed below.

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New York Citys Drinking Water

New York Citys drinking water is world renowned for its purity and taste. It routinely wins taste tests and won first prize at the 2008 New York State Fair, beating out 150 other communities. Most of New York Citys drinking water travels by aqueduct from three upstate reservoir systems, called watersheds. The geology of the forests, swamps and farms in the watersheds naturally filter out pollutants, rendering the water pure enough to supply drinking water to over 9 million New Yorkers daily.

The NYC Watershed system the Croton, Catskill and Delaware watersheds while comprising only 4.2% of New York States land mass, provide up to 1.5 billion gallons of unfiltered drinking water through a 6,000-mile network of pipes, shafts and subterranean aqueducts. The system that delivers the citys water from 19 upstate reservoirs is a remarkable engineering achievement and the single largest man-made financial asset in New York State.

New York Citys drinking water meets all state and federal drinking water standards. It is treated with chlorine to kill bacteria, fluoride to strengthen teeth, orthophosphate to decrease the release of lead from household pipes, and at times sodium hydroxide to lower acidity and reduce corrosiveness. New York States Department of Environmental Protection continually monitors the water in the reservoirs and the distribution system.

History Of The Nyc Water Supply

Running Dry: Hey New York, Where Does Your Water Come From?

The long and tumultuous story of the development of New York Citys water supply West of the Hudson River began when the New York State Legislature passed Chapter 724 of the Laws of 1905, an act allowing the city to acquire lands and build dams, reservoirs and aqueducts in the Catskills.

The city had already claimed the Croton River watershed in Putnam and Westchester Counties East of the Hudson, drawing its water from reservoirs and lakes in that region since 1842. The citys growing population sent it to the Catskills for more water, first from the Esopus Creek, which was impounded to create the Ashokan Reservoir in Ulster County.

The Ashokan was constructed under the auspices of the New York City Board of Water Supply between 1907 and 1915. Its Olive Bridge Dam and various weirs and dikes backed up Esopus waters for 12 miles, necessitating the removal of homes, farms, businesses, churches, schools and other structures throughout the valley. Two-thousand residents were displaced as four hamlets were flooded and eight others were relocated.

The BWS next turned to the Schoharie Creek, building a dam at Gilboa to create the Schoharie Reservoir. This reservoir, built between 1919 and 1927, forced the removal of 350 residents of the community of Gilboa and neighboring valley lands.

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Where Does New York City Get Its Water From

With a population of over 8 million residents, New York City is the largest city in the United States. Its metropolitan area is among the largest in the world with a population of over 19 million. Because of the high population, the demand for resources such as water is equally high in New York City. The residents consume about one billion gallons of drinking water per day. Additionally, millions of gallons of water are also required for industrial processes. Despite the high demand for clean drinking water, the city has managed to develop one of the most extensive municipal water systems in the world. But where does the city get its water from?

The water that ends up in most taps across the city of New York makes the approximately 125-mile journey from upstate New York. The citys water supply system is a complex system that relies mainly on a combination of reservoirs, aqueducts, and tunnels to meet daily demands. NYC has a simple water treatment process and supplies about 95% of the total water demand by gravity. The other 5% has to be pumped to increase pressure. The city has one of the largest, well-protected watersheds, extending for about 53,000 hectares.

Water Quality In The Nyc Watershed

Water from the NYC Watershed is considered to be the “Champagne” of drinking water. It consistently wins annual taste tests against other NYS water sources. The majority of the water is of very high quality and continues to meet all federal and state drinking water quality standards without the need for filtration.

Some significant water quality concerns in the NYC Watershed are:

  • Sediment problems, or turbidity, within the Catskill Watershed. Sediment can transport pathogens and interfere with effectiveness of water filtration and disinfection.
  • Excess nutrients, particularly phosphorus. High phosphorus can cause algae blooms that cause serious odor, taste, and color issues. Excess phosphorus can cause nutrient-rich water conditions that support unwanted plant life and increase carbon. This water, then mixed with chlorine, can result in the formation of “disinfection byproducts” – chemicals that are suspected of being carcinogenic and may cause the risk of early term miscarriages.

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How Clean Is Nyc Tap Water

As New Yorkers we tend to take for granted everything great about our city. We are a breadbasket of vibrant people, businesses, food choices, and entertainment. Yet, one thing that stands out the most about New York City is something every resident uses daily and multiple times a day: NYC tap water.

NYC tap water is unique & cant be found anywhere else. We use it for cooking, drinking, and just about everything else in between without even considering where it comes from. Yet, were still left with the question: how clean is NYC tap water?

Where Does New York City Water Come From

How New York City Kept Its Drinking Water Pure

New York Citys surface water is supplied from a network of 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes in a 1,972 square-mile watershed that extends 125 miles north and west of New York City. Due to the Citys ongoing efforts to maintain the appropriate volume and high quality of water in the distribution system, there is some rotation in the water sources used by DEP. In 2006, 99% of our water came from the Catskill/Delaware System located in Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties, west of the Hudson River. The Croton System, the Citys original upstate supply, was offline in 2006, and therefore did not provide drinking water to New York City residents for the entire calendar year. New York Citys Groundwater System in southeastern Queens operated one well which supplied a daily average of 1.3 million gallons of drinking water, less than 1% of the Citys total usage.

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Regulatory Framework For Filtration Avoidance

The primary driver of NYCs Watershed Protection Program is the federal Safe Drinking Water Acts Surface Water Treatment Rule, which governs the conditions under which NYCs water system can continue its status as an unfiltered supply. In addition, elements of the Watershed Protection Program related to managing water quality within the reservoirs and streams are affected by the provisions of the federal Clean Water Act . Finally, management of water transfers and releases from the reservoir system are regulated under the Flexible Flow Management Program developed to meet the requirements of a 1954 Supreme Court decision settling an interstate dispute between New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The NYC water supply, and the Watershed Protection Program in particular, also is subject to several state and local regulations. These federal, state and local requirements are discussed below.

New York City Watershed Program

The New York City drinking water supply system is the largest unfiltered water supply in the United States . It provides approximately 1.2 billion gallons of high quality drinking water to nearly one-half the population of New York State every day. This includes eight million residents of the City and one million consumers located in Ulster, Orange, Putnam, and Westchester counties.

In order to safeguard this irreplaceable natural resource, a comprehensive and innovative watershed protection plan was developed. It is embodied in the historic and landmark New York City Watershed Agreement . The MOA was signed in January 1997 and is a partnership agreement.

The partnership was organized to protect and to ensure that New Yorkers continue to enjoy high quality, affordable drinking water and to avoid the need for costly filtration – a cost estimated at between $8.0 to $10.0 billion to construct the facility and approximately $1 million each day to operate and maintain the filtration plant.

The NYC watershed is located in Southeastern New York State. Most of the water is provided by precipitation that falls within the watershed, flows to nearby streams, then is collected within the reservoirs. All of the 19 reservoirs and their major tributaries within the NYC Watershed Program are monitored continuously. DEC has available on some of the waterbodies.

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Watershed Protection And Local Food

Government officials, labor organizers, non-profits, community advocacy groups, and residents have a great dependency on rural farmers who develop New York City’s local food shed. The process of linking agriculture with New York City’s urban markets has been largely built upon the fact that New York City’s water supply comes from the protected Catskill Mountainswatershed in Upstate New York. New York City’s water supply system, the largest surface storage and supply complex in the world, yields 1.2 billion US gallons of water daily, with most of this water originating upstate. This water is unfiltered, and a filtration system would require $810 billion in construction as well as $1 million in daily maintenance. Instead, New York City’s watershed is protected by severe New York City Department of Environmental Protection restrictions that prevent pathogens and nutrients from entering the water supply. As a result of protection of the watershed, New York is one of four major cities in the United States with drinking water that is pure enough to not require purification by water treatment plants. However, the implementation of such stringent regulations is costly to New York State farmers.

Tunnels And Distribution System

A Closer Look At New York City’s Water Supply


From the Hillview reservoir water flows by gravity to three tunnels under New York City. Water rises again to the surface under natural pressure, through a number of shafts. The three tunnels are:

  • New York City Water Tunnel No. 1, completed in 1917. It runs from the Hillview Reservoir under the central Bronx, Harlem River, West Side, Midtown, and Lower East Side of Manhattan, and under the East River to Brooklyn where it connects to Tunnel 2. It is expected to undergo extensive repairs upon completion of Tunnel No. 3, in 2020.
  • New York City Water Tunnel No. 2, completed in 1935. It runs from the Hillview Reservoir under the central Bronx, East River, and western Queens to Brooklyn, where it connects to Tunnel 1 and the Richmond Tunnel to Staten Island. When completed, it was the longest large diameter water tunnel in the world.
  • The uncompleted New York City Water Tunnel No. 3, the largest capital construction project in New York City’s history . It starts at Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers, New York then crosses under Central Park in Manhattan, to reach Fifth Avenue at 78th Street. From there it runs under the East River and Roosevelt Island into Astoria, Queens. From there it will continue on to Brooklyn.
  • Distribution

    The distribution system is made up of an extensive grid of water mains stretching approximately 6,800 miles . As of 2015, it costs the city $140 million to maintain these mains.

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