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De Blasio Administration Increases Investments in Water Delivery System Infrastructure

January 30, 2020

City now investing $800 million on new water mains over next two years, a $130 million increase

NEW YORK—The de Blasio Administration today announced the City will be constructing new water mains and increasing staffing as part of several steps in the efforts to ensure the continued reliability of the City’s water delivery system. This initiative brings the City’s capital investment in new water mains and related infrastructure to $800 million over the next two fiscal years

“New York City water is famous for its drinkability,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We must ensure our infrastructure keeps it where it is supposed to be – en route to New Yorkers homes and not spilling out all over the sidewalk. Our investments will continue to bring down water main breaks and bring New Yorkers their water safely.”

“This new effort will further cement New York City as one of the country’s leaders in water main systems and infrastructure,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “With more than 8.5 million people who call New York City home, infrastructure that can continue to withstand the daily and long-term stresses is essential.”

“New York City’s water delivery system is not only admired because it is an engineering marvel, but also because it reliably serves more than 8.5 million people about 1 billion gallons of high quality water every day of the year,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.  “Mayor de Blasio’s additional capital commitments today will ensure that we can continue to build new, stronger water mains while expanding our inspection protocol so that we can continue to reliably deliver the champagne of tap water to every building across the five boroughs.” 

New York City has one of the most reliable water main systems in the country, far outperforming the national average. Large cities across the United States average 25 breaks for every 100 miles of water main while the industry has set a best practices goal of 15 breaks for every 100 miles of main. With approximately 6,800 miles of water mains, New York City averages 6.6 breaks for every 100 miles of water main.  There are several reasons for the strong performance of the City’s system, including the requirement that the water mains are built with the strongest material available and the maintenance of a consistent pressure grade in order to reduce the fluctuations that could lead to breaks.

To ensure New York City continues to have a leading water system in the nation, the City is taking the following new measures: 

Building New Water Mains
The City is adding approximately $128 million in capital funding to ensure the replacement of approximately 1 percent of the system’s water mains annually.  The regular replacement of water mains is an important component of maintaining a well-functioning water delivery system.

Expanding Staff
To expand DEP’s pro-active inspections of water mains an additional three crews will be added. Pro-active inspections help DEP identify and repair small leaks before they grow and can cause property damage and affect other services

An additional three crews will be added in order to increase the number of valves that are inspected and exercised annually. Regularly exercising and maintaining the hundreds of thousands of valves throughout the system helps to ensure crews can promptly shut off water when there is a break. 

Inter-Agency Coordination
DEP and NYC Emergency Management will meet with the New York City Fire Department, Department of Transportation, Con Edison, National Grid, and the Metropolitan Transit Authority and others to review current coordination protocols in an effort to expedite water shut-off and service restoration during emergencies.  

Predictive Modeling
DEP prioritizes new water main construction based on multiple factors including the age, size, material and historical performance of the current main, as well as neighborhood demand for water and proximity of other capital projects.  DEP will work to develop a predictive model to forecast the likelihood of future water main breaks.

pressoffice@cityhall.nyc.gov

(212) 788-2958