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May 23, 2012


Chris Gilbride/Corey Chambliss (DEP) (718) 595-6600

DEP Enhances Stream Flow and Snow Monitoring Programs to Improve National Weather Service Flood Forecasts and Improves Stream Gauge Program Efficiency

New Snow Monitoring Equipment Improves Reservoir Operations and Provides Data to NWS; New Turbidity-Monitoring Gauge to be Installed in Lower Esopus; Improved Program Efficiency Will Produce More Than $80,000 in Annual Savings

Deputy Commissioner for Water Supply Paul Rush today announced enhancements to DEP's stream flow and snow monitoring sensor network, enhancing the forecasting ability of the National Weather Service while also improving DEP reservoir management throughout the watershed. As part of the system improvements, DEP will expand its network of snow pillows from the current nine to 35 in total, distributed throughout Delaware, Sullivan, Ulster, Greene, Schoharie, Putnam, and Westchester Counties. Snow pillows measure the amount of water in snow packs, providing real-time operational data for DEP reservoir operations and for the National Weather Service to improve stream flow forecasts. The additional data will also help bolster DEP's state-of-the-art Operations Support Tool to better manage operations and planning throughout the water supply system. DEP has also identified more than $80,000 in annual savings by eliminating funding for six unnecessary gauges in its stream gauge program. In addition, DEP will install a new gauge to monitor stream flow and turbidity in the Lower Esopus at Lomontville, and add new turbidity monitoring equipment to an existing gauge at Mt. Marion. This commitment is solidified in the recent Administrative Order on Consent from the State Department of Environmental Conservation, concerning DEP's permit to add alum to the Kensico Reservoir.

DEP's stream gauge program is a partnership with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) that provides critical information needed to manage and operate reservoirs while also providing data to local communities about stream and river levels. The program consists of a network of more than 50 stream gauges within the watershed, assisting in water supply operations by measuring the flow of tributary streams. In FY 2012, funding for the USGS gauge program totaled $840,000.

The six gauges identified are:

  1. USGS 01374654
    Name: Middle Branch of the Croton River near Carmel, NY
    County: Putnam
  2. USGS 01413088
    Name: East Branch of the Delaware River at Roxbury, NY
    County: Delaware
  3. USGS 01421610
    Name: West Branch of the Delaware River at Hobart, NY
    County: Delaware
  4. USGS 01421618
    Name: Town Brook southeast of Hobart, NY
    County: Delaware
  5. USGS 0143400680
    Name: East Branch of the Neversink River Northeast of Denning, NY
    County: Ulster
  6. USGS 01434021
    Name: West Branch of the Neversink River at Winnisook Lake near Frost Valley, NY
    County: Ulster

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. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP employs nearly 6,000 employees, including more than 750 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and others professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $49 million payroll and $132 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.5 billion in watershed protection programs — including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council — that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with a planned $13.2 billion in investments over the next 10 years that creates up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at

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NYC Department of Environmental Protection
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