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‘Hudson 7’ sign agreement to protect Hudson River drinking water supply

Seven communities, representing 100,000 people who rely on the river as source of drinking water, create Hudson River Drinking Water Intermunicipal Council

Municipal leaders from the Towns of Esopus, Lloyd, Hyde Park, City and Town of Poughkeepsie and the Village and Town of Rhinebeck meet for signing ceremony in Poughkeepsie

Poughkeepsie, N.Y. – Municipal leaders from “The Hudson 7” – the seven communities that draw drinking water from the Hudson River – gathered at the Marist Boathouse in Poughkeepsie Thursday, May 31, to make history by signing a formal agreement to form the “Hudson River Drinking Water Intermunicipal Council.”

Five intakes along the mid-Hudson supply more than 100,000 people in the Towns of Esopus, Lloyd, Hyde Park, City and Town of Poughkeepsie and the Village and Town of Rhinebeck with drinking water.

The intermunicipal agreement is the result of a 10-month effort. In July 2017, a group of leaders representing the municipalities met for the first time to discuss the Hudson River as their shared source of drinking water, and what they could do to protect it. An informal collaboration began, allowing for the sharing of technical advice, participation in the U.S. Coast Guard’s Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment process, and collaboration with Riverkeeper to produce a report using Riverkeeper’s new “Drinking Source Water Protection Scorecard” to develop recommendations. That report, authored by the Center for Watershed Protection and commissioned by Riverkeeper with funding from the Park Foundation, was released in February.

Forming an Intermunicipal Council was among the top recommendations of the report. Its focus will be the long term protection of the Hudson River as a drinking water source. The council’s first meeting is tentatively scheduled for 5 p.m. June 28 at the Poughkeepsies’ Water Treatment Facility.

Collaborative efforts like these are expected to make the seven municipalities more competitive for grants and other support associated with New York’s historic $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act, which will provide multi-year funding for relevant projects, including $1 billion for clean water infrastructure and over $100 million for protecting drinking water at its source.

Dan Shapley, Riverkeeper’s Water Quality Program Director, said: “When a group of fishermen gathered more than 50 years ago to form the organization that became Riverkeeper, they had a clear goal in mind: Protect and restore the Hudson River. The river, we’re proud to say, has never been the same since. Today, The Hudson 7 takes on the same task, in a different form. I believe in another 50 years, we’ll look back at this event as the start of something as influential, and as important for the future of our river.”

Shannon Harris, Supervisor, Town of Esopus, said: “This collaboration represents the will of seven communities to advocate for cleaner water in the Hudson River. We are determined to take action to protect and improve drinking water for our people. Not just for the sake of our present populations, but for future generations to come.”

Mike F. Guerriero, Town Board member, Town of Lloyd, said: “There is nothing more important than the environment we live in and it is up to us, the citizens of the Hudson Valley, to ensure and protect the state of the Hudson River. We are grateful to be a part of such a socially aware and caring organization.”

Aileen Rohr, Supervisor, Town of Hyde Park, said: “The Town of Hyde Park is pleased to be part of this intermunicipal agreement to advocate collectively for drinking water protection for our community. With thousands of Hyde Park residents using the Hudson River as their source for water, we are eager to work with our neighbors to advance initiatives that will assure that this vital resource is protected now and into the future.”

Natasha Cherry, 6th Ward Council Member, City of Poughkeepsie, said: “It is a honor and a privilege to be one of the representatives from the City of Poughkeepsie on the Intermunicipal Council. To have the ability to work collaboratively with so many other municipalities to develop ways to secure and protect our drinking water supply is unprecedented.”

Matthew McNamara, 8th Ward Council Member, City of Poughkeepsie, said:
“The City of Poughkeepsie residents and businesses rely on safe drinking water from the Hudson River. Therefore I am very proud of the City of Poughkeepsie in joining this campaign with several municipalities in protecting our drinking water. This agreement codifies the relationship between the municipalities by ensuring safe drinking water for years to come.”

Jon Jay Baisley, Supervisor, Town of Poughkeepsie, said: “It is with great enthusiasm this group of municipalities came together to work on the protection of our water source. Working together will give us a stronger voice when addressing the issues pertaining to the quality of our water. It is a top priority to be able to serve the residents the best water possible. Having a strong, secure and safe water system is one of the driving economic factors in our town.”

Gary Bassett, Mayor, Village of Rhinebeck, said: “The Village of Rhinebeck believes that everyone should have access to clean drinking water that can only be achieved by protecting the source. The adoption of the Hudson River Drinking Water Intermunicipal Agreement is a major step for protecting the public health and our environment.”

Elizabeth Spinzia, Supervisor, Town of Rhinebeck, said: “I am passionate about local government and its role in protecting our resources. As Supervisor of the Town of Rhinebeck I am so very grateful of our partnership with Riverkeeper. The leadership and support that Riverkeeper has provided for us in protecting the Hudson River and our drinking water is immeasurable.”

Deb Caraco, P.E., Senior Water Resources Engineer for the Center for Watershed Protection, said: “The Center for Watershed Protection is thrilled to see these Hudson communities working together to protect their drinking water quality. This agreement is a key step toward to improving source water protection in the Hudson River Watershed.”

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About Riverkeeper
Riverkeeper is a member-supported watchdog organization dedicated to defending the Hudson River and its tributaries and protecting the drinking water supply of nine million New York City and Hudson Valley residents. Since its beginnings more than 50 years ago, Riverkeeper has helped to establish globally recognized standards for waterway and watershed protection and serves as the model and mentor for the growing Waterkeeper movement that includes more than 300 Keeper programs around the globe. Visit us at www.riverkeeper.org and follow us @Riverkeeper.

About Riverkeeper’s Drinking Source Water Protection Scorecard
Freely available at Riverkeeper.org, the Scorecard helps communities sort through the complex layers of policies, programs and incentives associated with protecting public drinking water sources, to develop recommendations and key actions.

Contact:
Leah Rae, Media Specialist, Riverkeeper, 914-715-6821, lrae@riverkeeper.org

One response to “‘Hudson 7’ sign agreement to protect Hudson River drinking water supply”

  1. […] at multiple locations up and down the Hudson and organized an unprecedented, seven-community intermunicipal drinking water protection council. We also held our largest ever Riverkeeper Sweep shoreline cleanup; successfully lobbied for […]

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