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  City Hall Library Notes, January 2010


By Christine Bruzzese

New York City's water supply system is a valuable element in the daily functions of the city and the lives of citizens. The Croton Aqueduct was the first centralized system for the city. Currently, most water is supplied through the reservoir system centered in the Catskills and Delaware County. This article features some resources on the water supply system that can be found in the City Hall Library.

Water for Gotham: a History by Gerard T. Koeppel chronicles the building of the Croton Reservoir, which opened in 1842. As the city's population grew, so did the need for a modern, clean water supply system. This book discusses the factors involved including political issues, business issues and health concerns. Planning and building of the reservoir are examined. Current issues in water supply management are briefly considered.

Liquid Assets: A History of New York City's Water Supply System by Diane Galusha traces the history of the city water supply system. Beginning with the days of the Dutch settlement, the development of a modern system is presented. Several chapters are devoted to the Croton Reservoir and issues of concern. Development of the Catskill Aqueduct, Ashokan and other systems is discussed. Also included is a short history of droughts and measures taken to mitigate the problem. Current and future concerns, including the building of Water Tunnel No. 3 are considered.

The Water Supply of the City of New York was published in 1977 by the New York City Board of Water Supply. This publication outlines the Board's work. Water supply systems in operation at the time are described. Future projects are summarized. The report includes photos and diagrams.

Check the catalogue for reports and publications from agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Bureau of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity and the Water Board. Historical materials from the Croton Aqueduct Board can also be found in the collection. Vertical files may provide clippings on water, water supply and related topics.

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