The Catskill/Delaware system of the NYC Watershed covers 1,584 square-miles and provides clean drinking water to over 10 million New York City homes and other downstate communities. 90% of New York City’s water originates in the Catskills where forests provide a natural buffer to protect the superior water quality in the streams and reservoirs. The remaining ten-percent comes from a suburban watershed east of the Hudson where the source water must be filtered to be fit for human use.
Construction of the reservoirs, tunnels and aqueducts in the Catskills began in 1905 and continued through the early 1960’s. Many regard this achievement as a marvel of modern civil engineering, but over 5,000 Catskill residents were relocated and family farms razed to add capacity and meet the needs of a growing city.
Future protection of the Catskill Watershed depends largely on sustaining the rural character of the landscape and intelligent forest stewardship that supports vibrant communities.
To learn more about smart stream-side management in the Catskill Watershed visit www.catskillstreams.org.