Riverkeeper’s Watershed Program also serves as a government agency watchdog. Specifically, we continually monitor the operations of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the agency tasked with overseeing the operation and maintenance of New York City’s water supply.
In 1997, New York State, New York City, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), upstate communities and environmental organizations, including Riverkeeper, joined together to sign an agreement to protect the unfiltered drinking water supply that more than nine million residents of New York City and upstate communities use daily.
This agreement, the historic 1997 Watershed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), bringing with it open space conservation and stronger land use controls, established a working partnership and framework for watershed protection that is both cost effective and environmentally protective. We believe that, if implemented effectively, this agreement is the best means to preserve the water supply, the upstate economy, and the Catskills environment.
With the DEP Report Card, and other reports, Riverkeeper, in partnership with other organizations, evaluates the progress of DEP’s efforts in safeguarding the drinking water supply for millions of New Yorkers and working with watershed communities.
Riverkeeper, with the other members of the Clean Drinking Water Coalition (NYPIRG and The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development), put together the first annual DEP Report Card in May 2008 – “Making the Grade: New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s Drinking Water Protection Programs.”
As watchdogs over the NYC Watershed, the Clean Drinking Water Coalition will update its DEP Report Card annually to ensure that New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) lives up to its obligation to protect the watershed.
Constructed between 1937 and 1945, the Delaware Aqueduct draws from four reservoirs – the Cannonsville, Pepacton, Neversink and Rondout – to provide between 50 and 80 percent of the City’s daily water demand.
Two leaks in the Rondout-West Branch Tunnel, located at Wawarsing and Roseton, threaten the aqueduct with significant water loss or catastrophic collapse. Leak data indicates that the 33 to 37 million gallons per day escaping from the two leaks does not account for all of the water missing from the aqueduct.