FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE03-79
Reduction Program Implemented At Pepacton Reservoir
to Create Five Billion Gallon Void for Future Runoff
Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) announced today that the City is implementing a program
to make controlled releases of water from the Pepacton Reservoir in Delaware
County to help alleviate flooding concerns along the East Branch of the
This program was developed in consultation with the Delaware River Basin
Commission, the Delaware River Master and the states of Delaware, New
Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. The first of the controlled releases
was made in the week prior to Christmas.
“There has been great concern expressed by downstream residents
and businesses about the unusually high water levels at Pepacton,”
said Commissioner Ward. “The controlled releases at Pepacton will
reduce the total volume of water spilled and should be a significant help
to downstream communities such as Downsville.
“Residents must remember, however, that Pepacton was not designed
as a flood control reservoir and even with this program it is unlikely
that peak flows will be much reduced. While controlled releases will help
decrease the risk, communities downstream should still take steps to improve
their flood preparedness,” said Ward.
The goal of the spill reduction program is to create a five billion
gallon void at Pepacton to absorb anticipated runoff in the spring. The
River Master will direct the releases so as to conserve the waters of
the Delaware Basin and avoid adverse downstream impacts.
The flood stage for the East Branch of the Delaware River is 13.0 ft.
as measured by the gauging station at Fishs Eddy. Releases will not be
made when the river stage at Fishs Eddy is above 11.0 ft., or is projected
to be above 11.0 ft. within 24 hours. Releases may also be suspended if
ice threatens flood-prone areas.
The Pepacton Reservoir is the largest of the four reservoirs that make
up New York City’s Delaware Water System, which provides about 50
percent of the City’s daily supply of about 1.1 billion gallons.
It was put into service in 1954 and has a capacity of 140.2 billion gallons.
As of December 28, because of extremely high precipitation in the City’s
upstate watershed, the reservoir was filled to over 101 percent of capacity.
Normally, Pepacton would be at 77 percent of capacity at this time of