Ashokan Watershed Residents Learn about Watershed Infrastructure

Posted on: September 10th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
Adam Bosch, Director of Public Affairs for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, gives a presentation on NYC watershed infrastructure during the "Understanding Ashokan Reservoir Operations" program.

Adam Bosch, Director of Public Affairs for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, gives a presentation on NYC watershed infrastructure during the “Understanding Ashokan Reservoir Operations” program.

 

Did you know the largest public works project in the Catskills in more than 50 years is being planned? Attendees learned this and more about how water makes the 92-mile journey from upstate New York to New York City during the “Understanding Ashokan Reservoir Operations” program hosted by AWSMP on Monday, September 9. That evening, NYC Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) Director of Public Affairs Adam Bosch gave a detailed presentation on the history of NYC’s watershed, current operations, and the future plans that NYC DEP has to upgrade that infrastructure.

He started off with a historical overview of NYC’s water supply, from the earliest wells that the city used, to the engineering marvels that are the Catskill and Delaware Systems. He went on to describe the important work done by hundreds of NYC DEP employees that work to ensure that clean water is delivered to NYC residents. These include scientists that analyze thousands of water samples each year to ensure there are no harmful pathogens in the water, police forces that protect the water supply, maintenance crews that ensure the infrastructure is in good working order, engineers who design new infrastructure projects, and other efforts.

Of particular note, he talked about how NYC DEP plans to rehabilitate the Catskill Aqueduct, which extends about 74 miles from the Ashokan Reservoir to the Kensico Reservoir in Westchester County. Historically, this aqueduct has had a capacity of 660 million gallons of water a day but has been reduced to approximately 590 million gallons a day due to a buildup of biofilms. Biofilms are harmless bacteria that have filaments that feed off of the naturally occurring iron and manganese in the water. Their growth has created friction in the aqueduct that slows the flow of water. Between 2019 and 2020, NYC is planning on periodically shutting down the aqueduct and sending crews down to remove the biofilm.

He ended his presentation by talking about the Ashokan Century Program. This will be an approximately 10-year, $1 billion project to begin in 2023. It will be the largest public works project in the Catskills in more than 50 years. It will include upgrades in and around the Ashokan Reservoir including the rehabilitation of the Olivebridge dam and dikes, the spillway, dividing weir bridge, intake chambers, and J. Waldo Smith Monument.

Anyone interested in the presentation can view it by clicking this link.

This program was part of Ashokan Watershed Month, which is a series of programs running throughout the month of September. Our next program, the “Sunset Rail Pedal along the Esopus,” will be this Thursday, September 12. Other upcoming programs include a “Watershed Paddle” on Saturday, September 14 as well as a “Book Signing and Reading” also on September 14. Please visit our webpage devoted to Ashokan Watershed Month for more information on these and other upcoming programs for the month.

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