Newsletter Sign-up Printer Friendly Format Translate This Page Text Size Small Medium Large


April 11, 2005

Contact: Charles G. Sturcken (718) 595-6600

Press Advisory: New York's Water Supply System: A Study in the Monumental

In celebration of the 100 th anniversary of the creation of the Board of Water Supply Commissioner Emily Lloyd of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will deliver welcoming remarks at a panel discussion, entitled NEW YORK CITY’S WATER SUPPLYSYSTEM: A STUDY IN THE MONUMENTAL. The discussion will take place on April 12 at 6:30 pm in the Concourse Auditorium of CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue (between 34 th and 35 th Streets). In addition to DEP, the Highbridge Coalition and the Gotham Center for New York City are sponsoring the panel discussion.

Conference presenters include :

Moderator: Gerard Koeppel, author of Water for Gotham: A History; writer, journalist, and historian

A System Overview . . . Joel A. Miele, Sr., P.E ., Commissioner, NYC Board of Standards & Appeals; formerly Commissioner, NYC Department of Environmental Protection

Watershed Perspective . . . Diane Galusha , author of Liquid Assets: A History of New York City’sWater System; Communications Director and Education Coordinator, Catskill Watershed Corp

An Historical View of the High Bridge . . . Robert Kornfeld, Jr. , AIA, Vice President, Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct; architect, LZA Technology; preservationist and Croton waterworks historian

The Current Engineering Inspection of the High Bridge . . . Michael Soliman , P.E , Director, Roadway Bridges – Manhattan and Brooklyn, NYC Department of Transportation

A Sandhog’s Work: Significant Changes in the Last 30 Years . . . Dale Estus , Local 147, Tunnel Workers Union; Third Water Tunnel Superintendent (Manhattan leg) for Schiavone/Shea/Frontier Kemper, at Shaft 26B.


Prior to the creation of the Board of Water Supply, the City had developed the Croton River to bring water from Westchester to New York. When created in 1905, the Board of Water Supply was authorized to oversee plans to further expand water supply development for a burgeoning population. The New York City water supply system is a study in the monumental. Physical structures like the High Bridge that carried water from the Old Croton Aqueduct, across the Harlem River survive as reminders of the visionaries who conceived and constructed this lifeline to the City’s ever expanding population. The modern day equivalent and outgrowth of early water supply engineering is the current construction of a modern “monumental” feat of technology and engineering -- the Third Water Tunnel, -- largely unseen by the general public as it burrows beneath the City anywhere from 400 to 800 feet below ground.

The April 12 panel, the first of the two planned programs, is co-sponsored by the Gotham Center and the Highbridge Coalition, which is spearheading a campaign to restore and reopen the High Bridge as well as the parks at both the Bronx and Manhattan ends of the Bridge. The discussion will cover the history of the water supply system and topics such as the Old Croton Aqueduct, the High Bridge, the creation of the Catskill and Delaware water supply systems as well as the system today, its need for the Third Water Tunnel and the innovative technologies being used in its construction. Members of the Highbridge Coalition include New York City Departments of Environmental Protection, Parks and Recreation, and Transportation, Friends of Highbridge Park, Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct, New York Restoration Project, National Park Service and Partnership for Parks.

A second program, planned for the fall of 2005 will be an all day conference that will take place in New York City. It will highlight the New York City water supply system but also explore the future of water delivery systems nationwide with emphasis on new technologies and challenges that confront water supply professionals and engineers given the needs of consumers and demands on modern water supply systems.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600