Interstate agreement improves flood protection, provides reliable public water supply

Oct. 4, 2007
Demonstrating a commitment to protecting Pennsylvania residents along the Delaware, Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty today said state representatives from New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania have come to an agreement that modifies New York City's reservoir operations. "Following the devastating floods of the last couple years, Pennsylvania immediately went to work to improve public safety and flood response and deliver on Governor Edward G. Rendell's...

• Flexible flow management plan modifies New York City reservoir operations; Rule temporarily implemented Oct. 1 as public comment accepted under rulemaking procedures

HARRISBURG, PA, Oct. 2, 2007 -- Demonstrating a commitment to protecting Pennsylvania residents along the Delaware, Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty today said state representatives from New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania have come to an agreement that modifies New York City's reservoir operations.

"Following the devastating floods of the last couple years, Pennsylvania immediately went to work to improve public safety and flood response and deliver on Governor Edward G. Rendell's promise to do as much as we can, as quickly as possible, in all of our flood prone communities," said McGinty. "With this new agreement, we're building on that effort by improving reservoir operations with measures that are based on sound science and don't threaten the public's water supply or fisheries."

The flexible flow management plan is designed to provide greater flood protection, improve fisheries management and allow for greater flexibility to address future water needs without compromising the reliability of the public water supply for New York City and Philadelphia.

Specifically, the plan calls for moving to flows for fisheries that are more gradual, and based on available storage, not the so-called "banks" that had been used under the previous system. Instead, the new program bases releases on a comparison with normal flow levels for the time of year, while also taking into account drought situations and drinking water needs.

Last year, Governor Rendell called for a task force to examine broader flood mitigation issues along the 330-mile river and its 216 tributaries. In July, the task force presented a report outlining 45 recommendations showing the need to analyze the entire New York City and lower river basin reservoir operations, examine our land use practices in flood corridors and provide flood-proofing and buyout options for those currently in harm's way.

At the Governor's direction, these recommendations are being prioritized and the resources needed for implementation are being estimated in an effort to develop a long-term solution to better flood protection along the Delaware.

The flexible flow management plans went into effect on Monday but, McGinty said, that was a temporary move while and the Delaware River Basin gathers public comment as part of its formal rulemaking process over the next several months.

"The flexible flow management plan is not the final answer to the problem, rather it is an added measure of protection for downstream communities until a more comprehensive program can be developed and adopted," said McGinty. "Improvements to the New York City reservoir operations are ongoing and we're taking steps to ensure that careful attention is given to the fact that many Pennsylvanians depend on these reservoirs for their drinking water. In the meantime, this agreement offers a technically feasible option today that protects citizens downstream from undue risk."

While structural solutions may not contribute as greatly to lower basin flood protection as non-structural measures, the request by flood victims to leave 20 percent voids in the New York City reservoirs year round are being considered thoroughly.

The Philadelphia Water Department has stated that during the last drought, leaving a 20 percent void would have compromised the Delaware intake for Philadelphia due to lack of water. In addition, the New York City reservoirs infrastructure currently is not capable of moving water adequately to create such a void.

To view the flexible flow management plan, visit the Delaware River Basin's Web site at http://www.state.nj.us/drbc.

###

Sponsored Recommendations

SmartSights WIN-911 Alarm Notification Software Enables Faster Response

March 15, 2024
Alarm notification software enables faster response for customers, keeping production on track

Automated Fresh Water Treatment

March 15, 2024
SCADA, Automation and Control for Efficient and Compliant Operations

Digital Transformation Enables Smart Water

March 15, 2024
During this webinar we will discuss factors driving the transformation to digital water, water industry trends, followed by a summary of solutions (products & services) available...

Automation for Water Treatment and Distribution Systems

Jan. 31, 2024
Dependable, Flexible Control Solutions to Maximize Productivity