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September 1, 2011


Michael Saucier  (718) 595-6600

Statement from Deputy Commissioner Paul Rush On Activation of the Ashokan Release Channel and Releasing Water From Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink Reservoirs

“DEP will activate the Ashokan Reservoir Release Channel tomorrow, following a request from Ulster County, and with the agreement of the State Department of Environmental Conservation. Activating the release channel is being undertaken to create room in Ashokan Reservoir to capture water from the upper Esopus Creek, thereby enhancing the reservoir’s ability to reduce downstream flooding. This will also provide an additional benefit of protecting water quality by reducing the amount of spillage from the more turbid west basin into the lower turbidity east basin, thereby protecting the drinking water of approximately eight million New York City residents and the roughly 160,000 residents of towns that rely on the Catskill Aqueduct such as New Paltz and High Falls in Ulster County, and New Windsor and Cornwall in Orange County.

“Today, DEP increased the water release rates from the Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink reservoirs. The increased releases enhance the reservoirs’ ability to absorb storm inflow and are provided for in the Flexible Flow Management Plan that went into effect on June 1, 2011. The plan is intended to provide a more adaptive means for managing the Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink reservoirs that considers fisheries needs and flood mitigation along with water supply reliability.  We are at the maximum rate permitted under the plan at Cannonsville and Neversink and are ramping up at Pepacton toward that end. Releasing more water now will create more storage capacity in these reservoirs to capture storm runoff, which will help to minimize any potential negative impacts on the surrounding community or to drinking water quality.”

DEP manages the city’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties. New York City’s water is delivered from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and comprises 19 reservoirs, and three controlled lakes. The DEP police protect the watershed and its facilities, including seven wastewater treatment plants. For more information, visit  or follow us on Facebook at

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NYC Department of Environmental Protection
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