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December 30, 2003

Contact: Ian Michaels (718) 595-6600

Spill Reduction Program Implemented At Pepacton Reservoir

Program 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 Delaware River.

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 year.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600