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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy 2 The New York City Water Supply System New York City between the 1840s and the 1960s developed the largest and, some would argue, the best urban water supply system in the world in terms of quality, reliability, and innovative management. The 1997 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) reflects a new era of creative management in response to the dual realities posed by (1) the need to comply with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and (2) the unavailability of new sources to augment or replace existing supplies. This chapter sketches the historical evolution of the New York City water system in relation to socioeconomic growth of the city during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It then describes the basic physical elements of the system as it exists today, together with the biophysical geography of the Catskill/Delaware headwaters from which 90 percent of the City's water is derived. This chapter thus provides the background and context essential to the detailed examination of the MOA that follows in later chapters. BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NEW YORK CITY WATER SUPPLY At the dawn of the nineteenth century, American cities were few in number, small in size, and coastal in location. Infrastructure inherited from the colonial period was primitive even by the standards of a half century later: streets were crooked and unpaved, public buildings were spartan, street lighting was rare, waste collection was practically unknown, and water supplies were totally inadequate. With immigration, industrialization, and the growth of an urban middle class, the population of towns began to swell in the early decades of the century. New York City in particular grew from 60,000 to 200,000 between 1800 and 1830. This rapid growth in population was accompanied by a succession of
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy epidemics, vaguely understood to be related to impure water, as well as frequent outbreaks of fires that could scarcely be contained with available water supplies. New York City was surrounded by tidal, brackish water with no immediate access to fresh water streams. Residents depended initially upon wells or rainwater cisterns for their water needs. The water table aquifer on which it depended was easily contaminated with surface wastes. Wells close to the shore became brackish because of saltwater intrusion. And with limited surface recharge of local groundwater, the reliable yield of springs and wells was insufficient. Rainwater cisterns added little to the general supply. Adding further to water demand was the patenting of the flush toilet in 1819, which greatly increased water consumption per capita as waterborne sewerage gradually replaced on-site privies and night soil collection (Weidner, 1974, p. 55). During the early nineteenth century, the provision of urban water supply was regarded as a private rather than a public function (Blake, 1956). New York, Boston, Baltimore, and several small towns relied initially on enfranchised private companies in preference to assuming the burden directly. An exception was Philadelphia, where recurrent outbreaks of yellow fever at the turn of the nineteenth century prompted a more aggressive municipal response. In 1801, Philadelphia constructed at public expense a pumping plant on the Schuylkill River powered by two steam engines. This project was designed and promoted by the noted engineer Benjamin Latrobe. It marked both a technological and an institutional breakthrough, namely in the use of the steam engine to pump water and the use of public taxation to establish a municipal water supply (Blake, 1956). In the case of Boston, the Jamaica Pond Aqueduct Company was chartered in 1796 to bring water to that city through a series of hollow log pipes. In New York City, the Manhattan Water Company was chartered in 1799 with an exclusive franchise to supply the city with water. It constructed a reservoir in lower Manhattan to supply 400 families from local groundwater. But this water proved both scarce and bad; the company, neglecting the ostensible purpose of its organization, soon turned its attention almost exclusively to banking affairs and thus lost the confidence of the community, and it was not long before the new works voted a failure. (Booth, 1860) In 1811, a plan for the future expansion of New York was prepared by a special commission established by the state legislature. The "Commissioners' Plan" projected future streets marching miles into the countryside of upper Manhattan as far as "155th Street." The plan was an accurate forecast of the spatial growth of the city. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, which connected the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, established the City's economic preeminence in the nation and contributed to its rapid population growth and prosperity. Local water sources were hopelessly inadequate to serve this rapid rate of growth in terms of quantity, quality, and pressure. Various schemes were
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy debated fruitlessly, with many in favor of a nearby diversion from the Bronx River just outside the city limits. This source, however, could not meet the prospective needs of the expanding city for long (Blake, 1956). Damming the Croton River The solution of the New York City water crisis ultimately required a synthesis of innovation in technology, in public administration, and in civic responsibility previously unknown in urban history. These factors, in conjunction with growing public desperation and fear, contributed to a municipal achievement that still today is the envy of other cities worldwide. In particular, public action to establish a water supply could no longer be debated or delayed after the city was wracked by fires in 1828 and 1835 and by cholera in 1832. The City retained an engineer, Colonel DeWitt Clinton, Jr., to study the water crisis and propose a solution. He predicted that Manhattan would reach a population of 1 million by 1890 (which proved to be late by 12 years). To meet the crisis, he proposed tapping the Croton River 40 miles north of the city to obtain a reliable supply of 20 million gallons per day (mgd) of pure upland water, a project of stunning simplicity in concept but daunting in terms of cost and engineering challenge. The elevation of a Croton River reservoir at 200 ft above sea level would permit the water to flow by gravity through an aqueduct to be constructed with enough "head" to serve the needs of taller buildings and fire fighting in the city (Weidner, 1974, pp. 28–31). To reach far beyond the city limits would ensure (at the time) that water would be relatively pure and that private landowners would be powerless to object to the diversion of local stream water to the city. The project also attracted the interest of civic leaders and politicians in both city and state government. (The federal government had no role in the project whatsoever.) The Croton River project required the construction of storage and conveyance facilities unprecedented since the Roman Empire. With the total cost estimated at several million dollars, the project was considered too large and too important for private enterprise. Accordingly, the City of New York, under authority from the state legislature, undertook to plan and execute the Croton River project directly. A water commission was quickly appointed, financing was approved by the City's voters in 1835, and construction began in 1837 (Blake, 1956). The project involved five major structural elements: (1) a masonry dam 50 ft high and 270 ft long impounding a reservoir with a surface area of 440 acres and a storage capacity of 600 million gallons, (2) a 40-mile covered masonry aqueduct with a cross section of seven by eight ft, (3) a 1,450-ft-long "high bridge" to convey the aqueduct across the Harlem River into Manhattan, (4) a 35-acre receiving reservoir located within the future site of Central Park, and (5) a four-acre, masonry-walled distributing reservoir located on the present site of the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The first Croton River
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy Croton Dam. Source: The Hudson (Lossing, 1866. © 1866 by H.B. Nims & Co.). water arrived in Manhattan on July 4, 1842, an event celebrated with church bells, cannon, and a five-mile-long parade. The event was both a technological and an institutional threshold: the City of New York had arrived of age (Weidner, 1974, pp. 45–46; Platt, 1996, p. 187). Within a decade, the City could celebrate another milestone—the opening of Central Park—which contained the key receiving reservoir for the Croton system. A map of the current Croton water supply watershed is given in Figure 2-1. Evolving Public Health Laws During this time, two important public health laws relating to drinking water safety were being developed in New York State that would make continued expansion of the New York City water supply possible. First, the New York Metropolitan Health Act was adopted by the New York State legislature in 1866 as the first major American public health law. It was directly inspired by the findings of English sanitary reformer James Chadwick, whose 1842 "Report of
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy FIGURE 2-1 The Croton water supply system. Courtesy of the NYC DEP.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy the Poor Law Commissioners Concerning the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain'' prompted a parallel investigation in New York City by John Griscom in 1845. These reports began to convince the informed public that the incidence of infectious disease such as cholera and typhoid was closely related to the purity and abundance of the water supply. The second important piece of legislation was the New York State Public Health Law of 1905. This statute allowed the city to regulate land use in the upstate watershed region to protect City drinking water (Article 11). The law also gave New York City the authority to acquire land through eminent domain, and it authorized the State Department of Health to promulgate rules and regulations to protect the City's drinking water (Nolan, 1993, p. 534). Expanding the Water Supply As the population of New York City crossed the one million threshold in the 1870s, the City began to address the need to expand the Croton system. A new Croton aqueduct was opened in 1892, and a massive new Croton River Dam that entirely submerged the old dam was completed in 1905. With the construction of several smaller dams by 1911, the present-day Croton River system was in place, providing a potential maximum supply of 336 mgd (which exceeds the entire supply available to metropolitan Boston today). But even this expanded Croton system would be insufficient to keep pace with the City's tremendous growth. In 1898, Greater New York with a population of 3.5 million was formed through the consolidation of Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. New York water engineers in the early decades of the twentieth century began to look further afield, to sources in the Catskill Mountains beyond the Hudson River. Between 1907 and 1929, the City acquired water rights and constructed the Schoharie and Ashokan reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains. A new 92-mile Catskill aqueduct conveyed water from Ashokan to the City, crossing under the Hudson River by means of an "inverted siphon" 3,000 ft long and 1,100 ft below sea level (Weidner, 1974, p. 161). The Catskill system also included the Construction of the Kensico and Hillview reservoirs just north of the City, City Tunnel No. 1, and the terminal Silver Lake Reservoir on Staten Island. This feat was repeated in the 1940s when the City reached out to the headwaters of the Delaware River over 100 miles away. Unlike the Catskill reservoirs, which tapped streams entirely within New York State, the Delaware is an interstate river basin. The proposed diversion of substantial quantities of water from the headwaters to New York City aroused opposition from the downstream states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where many communities draw on the Delaware River for their own water supplies. Under the U.S. Constitution, disputes between states may be taken directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ultimately, New York City's Delaware River diversion was authorized up to a maxi-
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy FIGURE 2-2 The Catskill/Delaware water supply system. Courtesy of the NYC DEP. mum limit by the Court in decisions in 1931 and 1953. The 105-mile Delaware River Aqueduct was the world's longest continuous aqueduct tunnel (Weidner, 1974, p. 300). It meets the Catskill Aqueduct at Kensico Reservoir east of the Hudson River, which it crosses via a deep inverted siphon. Today, the combined systems (Croton, Catskill, and Delaware) are capable of supplying New York City with about 1.3 billion gallons per day, of which approximately 40 percent is derived from the Catskill system, 50 percent from the Delaware System, and 10 percent from the Croton System. A map of the Catskill/Delaware watershed is presented in Figure 2-2. Figure 2-3 shows both the Croton and Catskill/Delaware systems. A chronology of important water supply events is found in Table 2-1. Both New York City and metropolitan Boston followed roughly similar strategies of water supply development between the 1840s and the 1960s, impounding hinterland sources of water to be conducted via gravity flow to the user region. But the two systems differ markedly in terms of their institutional organization. New York City itself established and continues today to operate its water supply system, even in upstate New York. By contrast, Boston conveyed its system in 1895 to a newly created regional entity, the Metropolitan Water District, which in turn was absorbed into a state agency—the Metropolitan District Commission, established in 1919. The latter completed the 400-billion-
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy FIGURE 2-3 New York City water supply. Courtesy of the NYC DEP.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy TABLE 2-1 Chronology of the New York City Population, Water Supply, and Related Events NYC Pop. Year Event 60,000 1800 1811 Commissioners Plan for New York City—future growth envisioned 1819 Albert Giblin patents the silent valveless wastewater preventor (flush toilet) in Great Britain 1825 Erie Canal opened 200,000 1830 1832 Cholera epidemic strikes New York City and other cities 1834 NYC Board of Water Commissioners established by state legislature 1835 Great Fire burns much of New York City 1837 Croton River Dam and 41-mile aqueduct begun 1842 First water reaches New York City from Croton River—celebrations 1858 Central Park opened—including reservoir 1866 New York State Metropolitan Health Act 1 million 1878 1893 Completion of New Croton River aqueduct 1898 Consolidation of "Greater New York City"—five boroughs 3.5 million 1905 State Legislature gives New York City power to regulate upstate watershed land 4.6 million 1911 New Croton River system completed—10 percent of present New York City system 1925 Interstate compact re Delaware River allocation—only ratified by New York 1927 Catskill Mountain system completed—40 percent of present New York City system 1931 New Jersey v. New York (283 U. S. 336) New York City is authorized to withdraw up to 440 mgd from Delaware River headwaters 7.5 million 1936 Delaware River system begun 1953 New Jersey v. New York (347 U. S. 995)—NYC authorized to divert up to 800 mgd from the Delaware headwaters subject to maintaining minimum downstream flows. River Master appointed. New York City Watershed Regulations published 7.7 million 1961 Delaware River Basin Interstate Compact adopted (four states and U. S.)—Delaware River Basin Commission established 1964 Delaware River system completed—50 percent of present New York City system 1964–65 Northeast Drought 7.9 million 1970 7.3 million 1990 1997 Watershed Management Agreement signed
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy gallon Quabbin Reservoir, 70 miles west of Boston, during the 1940s. In 1985, responsibility for distributing water to metropolitan Boston was reassigned to a new regional agency, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. Thus, while New York City has retained control over its system, and has encountered much anti-City hostility in its source regions, the metropolitan Boston system has long been administered by agencies serving a region containing half the state's population and therefore has gained broader political support in its efforts to protect its water supplies. As both systems follow parallel tracks in seeking to avoid filtration under the SDWA in the 1990s, this contrast in administrative structure may prove to be significant. In particular, the metropolitan Boston system has employed new state laws to promote watershed management in the source areas, while New York City has had to engage in lengthy and delicate negotiations with upstate interests to achieve the set of commitments that underlie the landmark MOA. It is worth noting that the New York/Boston model of interbasin diversion from distant, upland sources influenced many other American and foreign cities in their own quests for pure water. Sometimes long-distance diversions are not required, as with some Great Lakes cities that enjoy ample water at their doorsteps. Western cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and Phoenix have aggressively pursued scarce water wherever it could be found, developing whatever technical and institutional measures that were necessary to procure it. In some cases, such as the Owens Valley project of Los Angeles, the legal means were questionable and the technical execution was flawed, as demonstrated in the collapse of the St. Francis Dam in 1905 (Reisner, 1993). But the basic premise behind these western water wars was the same as that which motivated the early New York and Boston projects: employ modern technology and political power to ensure an abundant and inexpensive supply of pure water to the urban populace (Platt, 1996, p. 188). Future Demands on the New York City Water Supply System Average daily demand served by the New York City water supply system declined from 1,547 mgd in 1990 to 1,449 mgd in 1995 (Hazen and Sawyer/Camp Dresser & McKee, 1997, p. 11). Although the latter figure is still higher than the system's estimated safe yield of 1,290 mgd, clearly the City's demand management program is paying off. Continued expansion of metering and the installation of water-saving plumbing devices to date have caused the average daily demand to continue to fall since 1995 (Warne, 1999a). Box 2-1 discusses the history of New York City's demand management activities. Water demand management, which has proven to be effective in both the New York and Boston water systems, is nevertheless vulnerable to being counteracted by increasing numbers of water users. Future increases in users, and therefore in demand on the system, could arise from population growth within the
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy BOX 2-1 Demand Management in New York City By the late 1980s, the New York City water supply system was called upon to meet an average demand of 1,400–1,450 mgd for the City proper plus an additional 120 mgd provided to eligible suburban communities. With a dependable safe yield from the total New York City water system estimated at about 1,300 mgd, the system was technically deficient. But further augmentation through development of new sources was infeasible. New out-of-basin transfers from upstate rivers including the Delaware are likely to be blocked by legal action. New York City has a seldom-used pumping station on the Hudson River upstream from the salt front, but it would face environmental challenges if the station were to be used on more than an emergency basis. Groundwater underlying Long Island theoretically could supply additional water, but this would be opposed by communities already relying on that source (Platt and Morrill, 1997). Until the 1980s, water usage in New York City remained almost completely unmetered, which of course discouraged water conservation by households and other users. This nonsustainable situation was addressed in a Universal Water Metering program announced by the mayor in 1986. More than 600,000 meters have been installed at a cost of $350 million. When metering is complete, New York City will be able to monitor the use of water and employ pricing as a strategy to limit both waste and increases in demand. In 1991, the City launched a pilot water conservation program to stem rising demand. The program offered free leak detection and installation of water-saving plumbing devices such as low-flow showerheads and faucets, aerators, toilet tank displacement bags, and low-flow toilets. These services were provided to 10,000 homes with 1–3 families citywide (Nechamen et al., 1995). Starting in 1993, a larger scale water conservation program conducted leak detection for some 8,000 homes with 1–3 families and 80,000 apartments. The City provided an expanded range of water-saving showerheads and toilet devices, new outreach and public education, and energy conservation in cooperation with the electrical utility Consolidated Edison. The City has developed an audit of leakage as a basis for estimated long-term benefits from subsidized water conservation measures. By 1995, in-city average demand had dropped to about 1,300 mgd. Much greater savings are anticipated from continuation of leak detection and plumbing retrofit efforts. It is anticipated that one-third of the City's residential toilets will be replaced with 1.6-gallon-per-flush units by 1998. New York's Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), Sec 15-0105, has long declared that "the Waters of the State be conserved." A newer law (ECL, Sec. 15-0314) mandates the use of water-saving plumbing fixtures in all new construction or replacements of existing fixtures, including limits of 3 gallons per minute for sink faucets and showerheads and 1.6 gallons per flush for toilets. The State expects that this requirement will save over 500 mgd statewide (Nechamen et al., 1995).
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy TABLE 2-6 Land Use in the Catskill/Delaware Watershed by Reservoir Basin (in acres and as percent of total) Basin Agriculture Low-Density Residential High-Density Residential Commercial/ Industrial/ Government Vacant Land Forests Other Open Space Total Acres Ashokan 54 6,945 6,945 555 2,617 142,975 512 153,873 <1% 5% <1% <1% 2% 93% <1% Schoharie 5,975 37,521 748 2,819 25,737 123,760 3,793 200,353 3% 19% <1% 1% 13% 62% 2% Cannonsville 30,523 61,072 751 3,316 37,057 148,256 4,121 285,096 11% 21% <1% 1% 13% 52% 1% Neversink 136 2,376 16 47 1,487 52,955 661 57,678 <1% 4% <1% <1% 3% 92% <1% Pepacton 6,960 43,332 622 1,516 23,259 150,957 3,980 230,624 3% 19% <1% <1% 10% 65% 2% Rondout 1,152 5,157 239 125 2,253 48,614 320 57,862 2% 9% <1% <1% 4% 84% 1% Totals 44,800 156,403 2,590 8,378 92,410 667,517 13,387 985,486 5% 16% <1% <1% 9% 68% 1% Note: The low density residential, high density residential, and commercial/industrial/government categories do not correspond with the NYC DEP ''urban" category used in TMDL calculations and the pathogen monitoring studies. NYC DEP's "urban" category is a measure of impervious surfaces, major roadways, commercial, industrial, and high- and medium-density residential areas as derived from LANDSATTM scenes that have a 28.5-m resolution. Source: NYC DEP, 1993b. residential and commercial development inevitably generate overland flow. If these areas are connected with the stream channel network, larger quantities of lower quality water reach downstream areas more rapidly than does subsurface flow through native forest. Thus, although nonforest land uses may only comprise single-digit percentages of reservoir watersheds (Table 2-6), they are the principal challenge for mitigation and management. Land Use History A chronology of natural resource use in the Catskill Mountains is presented in Table 2-7. A historical review of changes in local economic activities and settlement patterns helps to put into perspective contemporary social and ecological conditions and the cumulative effects they have had on forests, soils, and water resources. For thousands of years before Hendrick Hudson sailed up the "Great River of Mountaynes" in 1609, Native Americans made limited use of the Catskills. They
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy FIGURE 2-10 Land cover of the Catskill/Delaware watershed. Note that impervious surfaces ("urban") do not correspond with the residential, commercial, and industrial land use in Table 2-6. Actual impervious cover is a lower percentage of land than the categories used in Table 2-6.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy TABLE 2-7 A Chronology of Natural Resource Use in the Catskill Mountain Region, New York ??? ~ 1630 Native American hunting, gathering, and war parties made extensive use of mountain slopes and summits. Farming and seasonal settlements were clustered in and along floodplains of major streams and along the Hudson River. 1609 On a voyage of discovery sponsored by the Dutch East India Company, Hendrick Hudson sails the Half Moon up the "Great River of Mountaynes" [later the North or Mauritius River then, finally, the Hudson River] in search of the Northwest Passage. He claims the region for the Netherlands eleven years before the Mayflower reaches Plymouth. 1610 Active trade with Native Americans, primarily for beaver pelts, begins during Hudson's second voyage. 1624 Dutch settlement proceeds slowly in proximity of the Hudson River, and later the Esopus and Rondout Creeks. In addition to New Amsterdam [now New York City], fur trading posts are established: Wiltwyck [now Kingston] and Fort Nassau [now Albany]. 1664 September 8th, Governor Petrus Stuyvesant surrenders New Netherland to a fleet of five English warships. The colony is named New York in honor of the King's brother. 1665 Disease and armed conflicts with white settlers lead to the extirpation of Native Americans from the region. 1700 ~ 1800 Land speculation, namely the 1.5 million acre Hardenbergh Patent, slows the colonization of the Catskills. Not until 1754 is the patent, held by Johannes Hardenbergh and seven partners, divided among their 52 heirs. ~1750–pres. Agriculture begins in the region. Early subsistence farms evolve into livestock, truck crop, and dairy operations. 1765 Early roads reach the interior. The Plank Road up the Esopus Creek valley [now NYS Route 28] first appears on a map. 1777 October 13th, British troops burn Kingston, the first capital of the State of New York. 1800–1870 Leather tanneries are established near major streams and virgin hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) forests throughout the region. When in peak production raw hides are imported from as far away as South America. Except for small, inaccessible areas, the late successional hemlock forest was destroyed to provide tanbark. Watercourses are fouled with tannery wastes and by deforestation. The native trout fishery is decimated. 1820 ~ 1930 The dense second-growth deciduous forest is repeatedly cut for barrel hoops, mass-produced furniture parts (largely for mail-order catalog companies), and fuelwood (for steamboats and locomotives). 1820 ~1930 Urban dwellers enamored of the writings of Washington Irving (Rip Van Winkle, 1729), James Fenimore Cooper (The Leatherstocking Tales, 1823–1841), and John Burroughs (1837–1921) as well as paintings of the Hudson River School, flock to early mountain houses and boarding establishments. 1830 ~ 1895 Bluestone is quarried throughout the region. Most is hauled to Island Dock on the Rondout Creek near Kingston, then by barge to New York City where it is used for curbs, sidewalks, buildings, and terraces.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy 1870–1954 The Ulster & Delaware Railroad extends the New York Central Railroad lines along the Hudson River to the interior of the Catskill region. Improved transportation benefits tourism and agriculture. 1885 The Catskill Forest Preserve is established as "Wild forest, forever" by amendment to the New York State Constitution. Most of the lands are mountaintop and sidehill parcels of second- or third-growth forest, that after being abandoned by owners, revert to state and local governments in lieu of delinquent taxes. 1905 New York State Public Health Law authorizes New York City to secure lands, by eminent domain if necessary, to build reservoirs and infrastructure needed to expand the water supply. 1907–1965 Beginning with the Ashokan Reservoir (Esopus Creek) and ending with the Cannonsville Reservoir, the New York City system encompasses 985,486 acres of watershed land. 1950s Alpine skiing increases in popularity with the construction of several major ski areas (Belleayre, Highmount, Hunter Mountain, Ski Windham, and others). Deer hunting, trout fishing, hiking, backpacking, camping, and recreational activities increase in popularity. Fall foliage attracts visitors from far and wide. 1960s–present Forest products industry is reestablished as forest on private lands reach sawtimber size classes. Other forest owners expand the production of maple syrup and sugar. 1970s–present Improvements in the local and regional highway system and lifestyle changes increase the demand for vacation and second homes. Adapted from Evers (1993), Stave (1998), and Wilstach (1933). hunted in deciduous forests along the lower slopes, grew corn, beans, and squash in small floodplain fields, and occasionally moved through the interior hemlock and upper-elevation spruce-fir forests in hunting or war parties. Colonial settlement of the Hudson River Valley by the Dutch and later the British along the lower Esopus, Rondout, and Schoharie creeks loosely encircled the Catskills. Beaver flourished in the numerous headwater streams, and this led to a burgeoning fur trade between Indians and Dutch and English traders. This was the first phase of intensive natural resource use in the region. Trade and other interaction occurred for several decades until fundamental misunderstandings over land transactions led to war and to extirpation of Indians from the region. Indians believed they were giving permission for friendly people to settle amongst them; whites believed they were buying the land in accordance with European norms and traditions (Evers, 1993). Through an almost unbelievable sequence of events, in 1708 a Kingston merchant, Johannes Hardenbergh, was granted 2 million acres of land, encompassing virtually the entire region (Evers, 1993). This enormous land patent had
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy Workers peeling and piling bark showing the tools needed—barking axes, peeling irons, and a "bob sled" with bark racks to secure the bark for travel to the tannery. Engraving c. 1840s. Collection of the Zadock Pratt Museum. Source: Reprinted, with permission of the Zudock Pratt Museum, from Bare Trees by Patrick Millen (Black Dome Press: 1995). the effect of forestalling extensive pioneer settlement until the mid-1700s. It also established a precedent for contentious "landlord–tenant" interaction that lingers to this day. The Catskills have been transformed by multiple enterprises, including leather tanning, "cut-and-run" logging, stone quarrying, and subsistence and commercial farming until tourism, the establishment of the Forest Preserve, and finally the New York City water supply system led to the current landscape and community structure (Evers, 1993). The long and volatile chronology summarized in Table 2-7 reminds us that more changes are, no doubt, in store. The forest continues to mature, farming seems poised to shift from dairy to other crops, and economic and societal changes induce people to seek rural areas as places to live, work, and recreate. Population Trends in the Watershed Region One of the reasons the Catskill/Delaware region was tapped for water early in the twentieth century was that it was sparsely populated. There are 40 towns west of the Hudson River with some land in the Catskill/Delaware watershed. An examination of the populations of these communities in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries reveals little population growth (Curve A, Figure 2-11). In fact, the town populations actually declined in the initial decades of this century. Although a growth spurt was experienced between 1930 and 1980, since 1980 there has been very little population growth in the region.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy FIGURE 2-11 Historical (1860–1996) and predicted future (1990–2020) population trends for the Catskill/Delaware watershed region and 40 West-of-Hudson communities. This analysis, however, can be misleading because less than half the population of the West-of-Hudson watershed towns actually resides within the watershed boundary. In order to determine actual watershed population figures, the 1990 percentages of the town population residing in the watershed (NYC DEP, 1993b) were used to estimate permanent watershed populations since 1860, with results shown as Curve B in Figure 2-11. These estimates demonstrate that the actual Catskill/Delaware watershed population hardly changed between 1860 and 1990. In fact, the 1990 watershed population exceeded the estimated 1860 population by just 235 persons. Based on these historic trends, future permanent population trends into the year 2020 were estimated assuming three different rates of growth. Average annual growth rates were determined for the periods 1900–1990 (long-term or moderate growth), 1940–1990 (high growth), and 1990–1996 (recent or low growth) using U.S. Census population figures. The corresponding average annual percentage growth rates for the total population of the 40 towns are given in Table 2-8. For the estimated population residing within the watershed boundaries, the three corresponding annual percentage growth rates are somewhat lower, as expected. Population projections based on these alternative growth rates are given in Figure 2-11, Curves C–H. It is clear from the trend lines that the estimated permanent watershed population will change little between now and 2020. If the 1990–1996 growth trend were to continue (Curve H), the permanent population in 2020 would be greater than the 1996 population by 2,500 persons. Figure 2-11 also indicates that growth in the 40 West-of-Hudson communities is likely to come in those areas lying outside the watershed. The Croton watershed region has experienced significantly more population growth than the Catskill/Delaware watershed. The associated increase in resi-
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy FIGURE 2-12 Historical (1860–1996) and predicted future (1990–2020) permanent population trends for the Kensico and West Branch watershed regions. dential and commercial construction, the loss of forests, and the increased wastewater demands have seriously degraded the water quality of the Croton watershed reservoirs. Twelve of the 13 reservoirs (including West Branch) are classified as eutrophic. Although the Croton system provides only 10 percent of the City's drinking water during nondrought conditions, almost all of the City's water passes through the Kensico and/or West Branch reservoirs, which reside within the Croton watershed boundaries. Population growth projections for the Croton watershed are likely to reflect conditions within the Kensico and West Branch watersheds that could have a significant impact on water from the Catskill/Delaware watershed. The historical and future permanent populations residing in these two basins were analyzed by the same method used for the population residing in the Catskill/Delaware watershed. U.S. Census data were used to develop Figure 2-12, which shows that the population living in the Kensico basin has leveled off since about 1970 (Curve A). By contrast, the population residing in the West Branch watershed has grown at higher rates and more continuously than that of the Kensico watershed (Curve B). Based on historic population trends for each basin (data not shown), three different growth rates were calculated for each, as shown in Table 2-8. These growth rates were applied to estimate future permanent population in the Kensico and West Branch watersheds (Figure 2-12, Curves C–H). Population growth in the Kensico watershed is likely to be relatively moderate into the next century, even under the high growth assumption (2.52 percent per annum), which would raise the population residing in the Kensico basin by about 14,000 between 1996 and 2020. Based on the high growth rate characteristic of 1940–1990 (4.9 percent per year), the West Branch basin population would grow by 83,146 persons,
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy TABLE 2-8 Annual Percentage Growth Rates for Different Regions in the New York City Watershed Area 1990–1996 Low growth 1900–1990 Moderate growth 1940–1990 High growth 40 West-of-Hudson Towns 0.25 0.38 0.79 Catskill/Delaware Watershed 0.11 0.22 0.49 Kensico Watershed 0.69 1.68 2.52 West Branch Watershed 1.38 3.45 4.90 Adapted from U.S. Census data. or 200 percent by 2020. These projected population trends underscore the importance of (1) monitoring reservoir water quality, (2) reducing present pollutant loadings via best management practices within the watershed, and (3) preventing future pollutant loading to the Kensico and West Branch reservoirs by restricting certain activities. These will be formidable tasks in the face of future population pressures. Seasonal residence in the West-of-Hudson region is a factor that was not taken into account in this analysis, partly because estimating this population is difficult. The 1993 environment impact statement (EIS) for the New York City watershed regulations projected that in the absence of regulations, the seasonal population would grow at a rapid rate (NYC DEP, 1993b). It concluded that if the watershed regulations then proposed were adopted, all population growth in the area would be minimal. (The EIS provided no information on how this conclusion was reached.) Unfortunately the analysis in the EIS contains errors, and the EIS relied on a method of estimating seasonal population that yields unreliable results.3 In order to independently assess the role of seasonal population, the committee turned to census data on housing, which support some concern about in- 3 To estimate the seasonal population in 2010, the EIS used a census count of vacant houses in 1980 and 1990. The EIS estimated the seasonal population by multiplying the number of vacant houses by the average family size in each township. Using this estimation method for 1980 and 1990, the EIS projected that seasonal population would double between 1990 and 2010 in the West-of-Hudson watershed areas. This procedure is likely to yield exaggerated estimates of seasonal population growth because it does not differentiate between seasonal housing and other vacant housing. For example, areas like Delaware County had the largest number of unoccupied houses and also experienced net population loss during the 1980s. Much of this housing is likely to be vacant, not seasonal housing. In addition, the EIS reported that in 1990 about one-third of all housing units in the West-of-Hudson watershed area were vacant. This appears to be an error resulting in an overestimate of seasonal change in housing. Our review of census figures indicates that about 19 percent of all housing units in the area were vacant in 1990.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy creases in seasonal population in watershed counties west of the Hudson during the 1980s. Between 1980 and 1990, permanent population growth throughout the watershed counties stagnated while the housing stock increased 5 percent, or 0.5 percent annually (which would yield a 10 percent increase in the housing stock if projected to year 2020). This growth in housing in excess of permanent population growth might indicate seasonal home development. One can also evaluate new housing construction rates and approximate corresponding increases in housing stock. Between 1990 and 1996, the new housing construction rate west of the Hudson dropped by more than half (based on Census Bureau reports of building permits issued), and the rate of growth of the permanent population slightly exceeded that of new construction (0.25 percent compared with 0.20 percent per annum), suggesting little seasonal home development (Department of Commerce, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996). If the 1990–1996 trend in new construction is projected to 2020, a modest 4 percent increase in the housing stock can be expected. Recent anecdotal accounts of second-home development in some watershed areas west of the Hudson, however, indicate some renewed interest in the area as a seasonal destination (Hall, 1998). In any case, the construction of seasonal homes will result in some growth of part-time residents in the watershed, and attention should be given to the distinctive watershed impacts of such residents. REFERENCES Blake, N. F. 1956. Water for the Cities: A History of the Urban Water Supply Problem in the United States. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. Booth, M. L. 1860. History of the City of New York. New York, NY: W. R. C. Clark & Meeker. Cowardin, L. M., V. Carter, F. C. Golet, and E. T. LaRoe. 1979. Classification of wetlands and deepwater habitats in the United States. FWS/OBS-79/31. Washington, DC: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Department of Commerce. 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996. County and City Data Book. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. Evers, A. 1993. The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock. Woodstock, NY: The Overlook Press. (fourth printing, revised and updated from the 1972 edition, Doubleday, Garden City, NY) . Ford, D. E. 1990. Reservoir transport processes. Pp. 15–41 In Thornton, K. W., B. L. Kimmel, and F. E. Payne (eds.) Reservoir Limnology: Ecological Perspectives. New York, NY: J. Wiley & Sons, N.Y. Hall, T. 1998. For sales of second homes: No vacation. New York Times, November 1, 1998. Hazen and Sawyer/Camp Dresser and McKee. 1997. The New York City Water Supply System. New York, NY: Hazen and Sawyer/Camp Dresser and McKee. Hazen and Sawyer/Camp Dresser and McKee. 1998. Task 4 Phase II. Pilot Testing Report EPA Submittal. Corona, NY: NYC DEP. Isachsen, Y. W., E. Landing, J. M. Lauber, L. V. Rickard, and W. B. Rogers, eds. 1991. Geology of New York: A Simplified Account. Educational Leaflet No. 28. Albany, NY: New York State Museum/Geological Survey.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy Liyanage, L. R. J., G. R. Finch, and M. Belosevic. 1997. Effect of aqueous chlorine and oxychlorine compounds on Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts. Environmental Science & Technology 31(7): 1992. Lossing, B. 1866. The Hudson: From the Wilderness to the Sea. Troy, NY: H.B. Nims & Co. Millen, P. E. 1995. Bare Trees. Hensonville, NY: Black Dome Press Corp. Mitsch, W. J., and J. Gosselink. 1993. Wetlands. 2nd Edition. New York, NY: Van Norstrand Reinhold. Murdoch, P. S., and J. L. Stoddard. 1992. The role of nitrate in acidification of streams in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Water Resources Research 28(10):2707–2720. National Research Council (NRC). 1995. Wetlands: Characteristics and Boundaries. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Nechamen, W. S., S. Pacenka, and W. Liebold. 1995. Assessment of New York City Residential Water Conservation Potential. New York, NY: NYC DEP. New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP). 1993a. Implications of Phosphorus Loading for Water Quality in NYC Reservoirs. NYC DEP. 1993b. Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Watershed Regulations for the Protection from Contamination, Degradation, and Pollution of the New York City Water Supply and its Sources. November 1993. Corona, NY: NYC DEP. NYC DEP. 1998. Kensico Watershed Study Annual Research Report: April 1997-March 1998. Valhalla, NY: NYC DEP. NYC DEP. 1999a. Proposed Phase II Phosphorus TMDL Calculations for Ashokan Reservoir. Valhalla, NY: NYC DEP. NYC DEP. 1999b. Proposed Phase II Phosphorus TMDL Calculations for Cannonsville Reservoir. Valhalla, NY: NYC DEP. NYC DEP. 1999c. Proposed Phase II Phosphorus TMDL Calculations for Neversink Reservoir. Valhalla, NY: NYC DEP. NYC DEP. 1999d. Proposed Phase II Phosphorus TMDL Calculations for Pepacton Reservoir. Valhalla, NY: NYC DEP. NYC DEP. 1999e. Proposed Phase II Phosphorus TMDL Calculations for Rondout Reservoir. Valhalla, NY: NYC DEP. NYC DEP. 1999f. Proposed Phase II Phosphorus TMDL Calculations for Schoharie Reservoir. Valhalla, NY: NYC DEP. NYC DEP. 1999g. Proposed Phase II Phosphorus TMDL Calculations for Kensico Reservoir. Valhalla, NY: NYC DEP. NYC DEP. 1999h. Proposed Phase II Phosphorus TMDL Calculations for West Branch Reservoir. Valhalla, NY: NYC DEP. Nolan, J. R. 1993. The erosion of home rule through the emergence of state interests in land use control . Pace Environmental Law Review 10(2):497–562. Platt, R. H. 1996. Land Use and Society: Geography, Law, and Public Policy. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. Platt, R., and V. Morrill. 1997. Sustainable water supply management in the United States: Experience in Metropolitan Boston, New York, and Denver. Pp. 292–307 In Shrubsole, D., and B. Mitchell (eds.) Practicing Sustainable Water Management: Canadian and International Experiences. Cambridge, Ontario: Canadian Water Resources. Reisner, M. 1993. The American West and its disappearing water. Pp. 97–99 In Cadillac Desert. New York, NY: Penguin Books. Stave, K. A. 1998. Water, Land, and People: The Social Ecology of Conflict over New York City's Watershed Protection Efforts in the Catskill Mountain Region, NY., Ph.D. Dissertation, Yale University, Department of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, CT.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy Stoddard, J. L., and P. S. Murdoch. 1991. Catskill Mountains. Pp. 237–271 In Charles, D. F. (ed.) Acidic Deposition and Aquatic Ecosystems: Regional Case Studies. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag. Tiner, R. W. 1997. Wetlands in the Watersheds of the New York City Water Supply System: Results of the National Wetlands Inventory. Prepared for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Valhalla, NY. Hadley, MA.:U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, Northeast Region. Titus, R. 1993. The Catskills: A Geologic Guide. Fleischmanns, NY: Purple Mountain Press. USDA Soil Conservation Service (SCS). 1979. Soil Survey of Ulster County. New York, NY: USDS SCS. Warne, D. 1999a. NYC DEP. Memorandum to the National Research Council dated April 1999. Warne, D. 1999b. NYC DEP. Memorandum to the National Research Council dated May 1999. Weidner, C. H. 1974. Water for a City. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Wetzel, R. G. 1990. Reservoir ecosystems: Conclusions and speculations. Pp. 227–238 In Thornton, K. W., B. L. Kimmel, and F. E. Payne (eds.) Reservoir Limnology: Ecological Perspectives. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons. Wilstach, P. 1933. Hudson River Landings. Port Washington, NY: Ira J. Friedman, Inc.
Representative terms from entire chapter: