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March 10, 2010


Michael Saucier/Mercedes Padilla (718) 595-6600

Update on DEP Watershed Snowpack Levels and Actions

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

"DEP continues to monitor the potential impacts of the quantity of water in the snowpack in the Catskill/Delaware watersheds and take appropriate measures. As a result of historic snowstorms at the end of February, the quantity of water in the snowpack quickly outpaced its historical average. On March 3 we announced initiatives we were enacting to monitor and manage the water stored above our reservoirs in the snowpack, including the release of 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. We continue to do that. We are also continuing to operate siphons at Gilboa Dam at Schoharie Reservoir, which releases approximately 200 million gallons of water a day into Schoharie Creek.

Now, with a combination of heavy rain and warmer temperatures forecast for the weekend, DEP has taken more steps to minimize any potential negative impacts on the surrounding community and on the quality of New York City’s water.”

These steps include:

  • Increasing the release rate at the Ashokan Reservoir Release Channel to 400 million gallons per day from approximately 300 million gallons per day.  The Ashokan Release Channel was activated in January. It 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.
  • Increasing the amount of water flow through the dividing weir of the Ashokan Reservoir to create more room in the West Basin to absorb storm runoff.
  • Completing a snow survey throughout the entire upstate reservoir watershed.

DEP will continue to take the appropriate steps to manage and monitor the water in the snowpack and in the water supply system in anticipation of this weekend’s predicted rain.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600