Since 1997, New York City has spent $438 million to protect 135,149 acres of land in the Catskill/Delaware watershed, a land area greater than Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens combined. Decades-old resentment in watershed towns has eased, but there are still points of tension.
Cracks in the 85-mile-long Delaware Aqueduct are leaking up to 35 million gallons a day and threaten the largest source of New York City drinking water. A huge repair job is underway, and consumers will have to conserve water to help make it work.
The federally mandated plant in the Bronx is finally operating, but neighbors still wonder why a site that was supposed to save money ended up costing $2 billion more than planned.
Of all the challenges facing the city’s awe-inspiring water system, the most contentious might be playing out now at Flushing Bay, the Bronx River and other waterways, where a push to make city waters open to swimming and fishing is running into concerns over cost.
FEMA deals didn’t work for many upstate residents affected by 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene. So New York’s DEP is offering to buy some homeowners out—a way to improve city-watershed relations and pick up small but important tracts of land.
You might not know what “turbidity” is but it’s a long-standing issue in the city’s Catskills watershed—one that climate change is likely to exacerbate.
The departments of health and environmental protection log purchases of stomach medicine from major drug-store chains as part of an effort to spot water contamination.
New York City’s ultraviolet disinfection facility combines steel, light and water in an effort to prevent waterborne illnesses from afflicting New Yorkers.