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Riverkeeper’s Watershed Program works on protecting the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton River watersheds that supply 9 million New Yorkers with 1.2 billion gallons of unfiltered drinking water each day. We achieve our goals of watershed protection through enforcing environmental laws, investigating pollution complaints, and reviewing and commenting on proposed development projects.
To achieve our goal of watershed protection, we rely on federal, state, and local environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and New York State Environmental Quality Review Act. In addition, as a signatory to the landmark 1997 Watershed Memorandum of Agreement, we work to ensure New York City’s compliance with the watershed protection measures agreed upon by city, state, and federal officials. These protection measures allow New York City to avoid the billion dollar cost of operating and maintaining a filtration system for the Catskill-Delaware water supply.
The 1997 New York City Watershed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is an historic agreement between New York City, New York State, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, watershed towns, watershed counties, and five environmental organizations, including Riverkeeper.
The MOA has three elements that together allowed New York City to obtain a filtration waiver from EPA and avoid filtering the Catskill/Delaware water supply. These three elements are:
1) Land Acquisition Program
2) Watershed Rules and Regulations
3) Partnership Programs