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March 25, 2003

Contact: Ian Michaels (718) 595-6600

City Reservoirs At 100 Percent Capacity For First Time In Almost Two Years

Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that City reservoir levels have reached 100 percent, marking the first time since April 2001 that the reservoir system has been full. Reservoir levels on this date are normally 92.5 percent.

“Even though reservoir levels are above normal, this does not mean New Yorkers should end their excellent track record for water conservation,” cautioned Commissioner Ward. “We’re only in March, and the months with the highest traditional water usage are just ahead of us. Conservation has to be a continuing effort. For now, this is good news for the City.”

The City had been dealing with a water shortage since 2001. A drought watch was declared in December 2001, followed closely by a drought warning in January 2002. A drought emergency Stage I was declared in April 2002 after another dry season left little snow in the upstate watershed region.

The drought emergency was rolled back to a drought watch in November 2002. The watch was cancelled on January 3rd of this year.

“New Yorkers should remember that there are year-round restrictions on some types of water use,” said Commissioner Ward. “Residents should never open a fire hydrant illegally. And you may not water sidewalks or lawns from November 1st to March 31st.”

Water Saving Tips

  1. Report open fire hydrants and street leaks to the City 24-hours-a-day by calling (718) DEP-HELP.
  2. Take advantage of DEP's free water survey to help save water and cut water bills in residential and commercial buildings. City residents can call (718) DEP-HELP.
  3. Take shorter showers or fill the tub only halfway.
  4. Don't run the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth.
  5. Fix leaks. Leaky faucets alone can waste up to 1,000 gallons each week.
  6. Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when full. Or use short cycles if available.
  7. Don't use the toilet as a wastebasket. Each unnecessary flush can waste 1.6 to 5 gallons.
  8. Install water-saving fixtures including toilets, showerheads and faucet aerators.
  9. Sweep driveways and sidewalks clean rather than washing them down with a hose.
  10. For further information about water conservation see the DEP Web site at, or call (718) DEP-HELP.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600