Newsletter Sign-up Printer Friendly Format Translate This Page Text Size Small Medium Large


March 3, 2010


Michael Saucier/Mercedes Padilla (718) 595-6600

Statement on DEP Watershed Snowpack Levels

NYC Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway today released the following statement on watershed snowpack levels in the water supply system

As part of our standard operating procedure, DEP continually monitors the amount of snowpack in the Catskill/Delaware watersheds during the winter season so that we can address potential impacts of higher than expected snowfall. Due to last week’s historic snowstorms, which in some places brought more than four feet of snow, the quantity of water in the snowpack has quickly outpaced its historical average. To put it in context, we experience roughly 60 billion gallons of snowpack water this time of year, but this season we have nearly tripled that level — to 175 billion gallons.

To deal with this, we have enacted a series of initiatives to minimize any negative effects on the surrounding community and on the quality of New York City’s water.

As part of an ongoing program to monitor and manage the water stored above our reservoirs in the snowpack, DEP has taken the following steps:

  • Release the maximum amount of water allowed under the Flexible Flow Management Plan, which is intended to provide a more adaptive means for managing the Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink reservoirs. DEP includes half of the water content in the snowpack in the total storage for its Delaware reservoirs. Accounting for this snowpack water allows DEP to enhance the flood mitigation already provided by the reservoirs.

  • Continue running the Ashokan Reservoir Release Channel that was activated in January, and increasing the release volume to 300 to 350 million gallons per day. The Ashokan Release Channel is a concrete canal used to convey water released in a controlled manner from the reservoir through the upper and lower gate chambers to the Little Beaverkill stream and the lower Esopus Creek. The release will improve water quality in the reservoir, which saw an increase in turbidity levels as the result of snowmelt and rains earlier this winter, and will enhance flood prevention protection.

  • Operate siphons at Gilboa Dam at Schoharie Reservoir, which releases approximately 200 million gallons of water a day into Schoharie Creek.

DEP will continue to monitor the snowpack amount and take appropriate measures.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600