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May 6, 2011


Farrell Sklerov / Michael Saucier (718) 595-6600

DEP Re-Activates Fountain at Ashokan Reservoir

Completes Work to Replace Century-Old Valves That Regulate Flow into Aqueduct

Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway today announced that the fountain at the Ashokan Reservoir will be activated again after a two-year hiatus to replace valves that were more than a century old. DEP replaced two of four 48-inch diameter, 105-year-old valves that regulate the flow of Ashokan Reservoir water into the Catskill Aqueduct. The water that supplies the fountain is normally routed through New York Power Authority turbines that generate electricity for local power grids. Water has been bypassing the turbines and fountain since May 2009 to complete the rehabilitation work. The total cost to replace the 17-ton valves was $4.9 million. With the valve replacement complete, the fountain will be re-activated just in time for Mother’s Day, this Sunday, May 8, at 8:00 am.

“Replacing the valves at Ashokan, which supplies 40 percent of New York City’s drinking water, is vital to ensuring the uninterrupted flow of water to the Catskill Aqueduct,” said Commissioner Holloway. “Improving New York City’s water infrastructure is critical to the water supply system’s long-term sustainability. The added benefit here, just in time for Mother’s Day, is that local families and visitors can again enjoy the sight of a fully operational Ashokan Fountain while taking advantage of five acres of open space.  I’d like to thank our team in the Bureau of Water Supply, and our contractors, Spectraserv and Volmar, for working hard to get this done by Mother’s Day; thanks to their efforts, the fountain will add to the beauty of the Ashokan Landscape from now through the fall.”

“The Ashokan fountain has long been a popular area for the residents of the Town of Olive and others visiting the Ashokan Reservoir,” said Town of Olive Supervisor Berndt J. Leifeld. “It is a public use area open from sunrise to sunset. Residents can gather around the fountain during the hot summer months and enjoy the cool mist of the water. On weekends, families can be seen picnicking, Rollerblading, teaching children how to ride bicycles and jogging. The Ashokan fountain, maintained by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, is a great place for all to enjoy.”

The valve work has improved the water supply system’s reliability. Two of the four valves were inoperable and limited the water supply operation. Forty percent of New York City’s drinking water passes through the Ashokan Lower Gate Chamber, where the valves are located.

The five-acre area surrounding the fountain is open to the public and approximately 2,500 visitors enjoy the scenic view while picnicking, playing catch, bicycling, walking and other activities each year. It is adjacent to the Ashokan Dam Public Access Area that provides 2.5 miles of scenic walkways. The water fountain at Ashokan replaced the original Catskill Aqueduct aeration system in 1982 during the installation of two hydroelectric turbines by New York Power Authority. The turbines produce 4,700 kilowatts of electrical power for surrounding electrical grids.

The Ashokan Reservoir is one of two reservoirs in the City’s Catskill Water Supply System. The Ashokan consists of two basins separated by a concrete dividing weir and roadway, it holds 122.9 billion gallons at full capacity and was placed into service in 1915. Including the water it receives from the Schoharie Reservoir, the Ashokan supplies about 40 percent of New York City’s daily drinking water needs in non-drought periods. Water enters the Ashokan’s West Basin and, after a settling period, is withdrawn from its East Basin.

DEP manages the city’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8 million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties. Approximately 1,000 DEP employees live and work in the watershed communities. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook at

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Flushing, NY 11373

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