December 8, 2020
DEP shut down the Catskill Aqueduct this month for the third year of an all-important rehabilitation project. Skilled workers are currently replacing century-old valves along the northern 74 miles of the aqueduct. They are also repairing minor leaks to ensure the aqueduct continues to deliver water from the Catskills to New York City after 105 years in service.
The Catskill Aqueduct usually supplies about 40 percent of the city’s drinking water. While it is out of service for the next 70 days, New York City will rely on additional water from our other two Water Supply systems, the Delaware System and the Croton System.
Some customers might experience a change in the taste of their water as these sources move through the distribution system. In fact, many parts of the city will receive water from one reservoir source during the daytime, and a completely different reservoir source at night. These changes are based upon daily fluctuations in water demand throughout the city. The difference in taste might be more noticeable in neighborhoods that receive water from multiple reservoir sources throughout a typical day. Those who notice the difference can try chilling their water or adding ice cubes to improve its taste.
Please remember that New York City gets its drinking water from massive reservoirs that are located in different parts of the state, surrounded by different rocks and soil, and subject to natural processes that change their ecology. Colder temperatures in autumn cause water within our reservoirs to circulate from top to bottom, which can make the water taste different. The dropping temperatures also cause aquatic plants to produce organic compounds that can temporarily change the taste of the water. These harmless compounds are the same ones that give beets and corn their earthy flavor. As the deep cold of winter sets in, they typically go away.
Our scientists and engineers are testing the water daily and optimizing the treatment processes to ensure the best quality water is delivered to New Yorkers while we rehabilitate one of the most complex aqueducts in the world.